DANVILLE — Monte Vance has always been about serving the people. Whether as a pastor or a policeman, Vance believes in helping his fellow man.
Vance will soon do something he feels will help out his hometown of Danville. On Oct. 31, he will retire from his police duties as chief of the village police department. He will then concentrate on his administrative duties as chief, freeing up money and time for a second full-time patrol officer in the village.
“I grew up in this community. It’s very special to me,” Vance said. “I was planning on retiring and I thought I could try something that would give the village more police protection. If I retired and stepped back in, the village would not have to pay my wages, which would open up enough money to pay for another patrol officer.”
Vance, 59, had been planning on retiring as he neared 25 years in law enforcement. The idea of returning as chief in just the administrative capacity struck him as a way to get another patrolman on board, while still allowing the village to have an experienced policeman performing the administrative duties. The administrative duties have taken up much of Vance’s time in his 10 years as chief.
“Assigning an officer to patrol duties and re-assigning the police chief to only administrative duties will benefit the village immensely,” said Danville Mayor Robert Dile. “Being a time when you have to be as economical as possible, this can be accomplished with no salary increase to the police budget, which is a great accomplishment. For the same budget we currently have, the village will be receiving more patrol coverage, yet still retain an experienced police chief to lead the police department.”
Vance started out as a loss prevention officer at the Conley’s store in Mount Vernon. He then became director of loss prevention for the company in 1976, handling theft and loss prevention at 15 stores in Ohio. That’s when Vance became interested in law enforcement.
Conley’s paid his way through law enforcement academy, and Vance then started on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office as a special deputy. In 1984, he was hired as a patrolman in Danville, then appointed chief in 1999. He is also pastor at New Harvest Community Gathering Church in Mount Vernon.
During his 10 years as chief, Vance has been the driving force behind many changes and improvements in the department.
He established the auxiliary department, the K-9 unit, a records management system, a department gun range officer and the bike patrol; put computers in the patrol vehicles; developed the police manual; and applied for and received many different grants totaling nearly $200,000 over the years to help the police department’s budget.
One thing Vance is sure he’ll miss as he steps away from patrol duties is the contact with the residents of the village.
“I already know what I’ll miss the most — contact with the kids on a daily basis,” he said. “When I was in my patrol car near the school, it was almost a daily occurrence where several students would walk up to my cruiser just to say hi and spend time speaking with me. I know the one thing I will really miss is the contact I have with the youths.”
Vance said he’s always had an open door policy, and hopes he will continue to have a lot of that contact with the children as they come to the library in the municipal building. He said he always made sure he came out of his office and talked with the youths when they came to the library, and hopes that is one way he will be able to remain in contact with them and the adults of the village.
“The public’s always known where I am. They will come here and just talk about nothing in particular, sometimes for 30 to 40 minutes. That’s the way this community is and it’s something I dearly love,” Vance said.
The village is expected to hire a full-time patrol officer at its Nov. 2 meeting.