Staying in Midlothian Was A Blessing
MIDLOTHIAN – Midlothian Commander Vernell Dooley ended up with the Midlothian Police Department after he says God intervened.
“It was definitely a God thing,” Dooley said.
In the summer of 2020, he began praying about where God wanted him to serve.
“As I explored other opportunities, I applied for the Chief of Police position in Victoria, a position that would have resulted in me moving hours away from my family. While I was not named the chief in Victoria, the process allowed me to have an honest conversation with my family, during which they made it clear, they did not want to move away from Midlothian,” he explained.
So he says “as luck and God would have it, I became aware of an opportunity for me to join the Midlothian Police Department as a Commander. This opportunity was truly a blessing because it afforded me the opportunity to work with Chief Carl Smith, a well-respected law enforcement professional who has led his department for over 13 years.”
Dooley began his new job in early February as the Professional Standards Commander.
Having held a Chief of Police position in Glenn Heights in the past, in addition to working with the City of Denton and holding a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, he said this new move is one that his past jobs prepared him for in order to help him “strategize both traditional and innovative approaches to keeping those in our community safe as we grow.”
What Is A Professional Standards Commander?
As Professional Standards Commander, he is responsible for the department’s recruiting and training, policy management, and internal affairs investigations.
“We are working towards being accredited through the Texas Police Chiefs Association “Best Practices” Program and I will assist in that effort as well,” he added.
Dooley said “I’m excited about the future of Midlothian and feel that since I started my career with a much larger department, I’m perfectly positioned to help keep our citizens safe as the community grows.”
He also said his Commander position is a good fit for him because “while I have accomplished a lot in 15 years of being in law enforcement, I still have so much to learn and want to learn from professional public servants like Chief Smith and Assistant Chief Scott Brown. Being in a position to learn from them – almost 70 years of experience between the two of them – is perfect for me.”
The Right Fit For Midlothian Police Department
Chief Smith is also excited about having Dooley in the Department.
“We are certainly blessed to have had an opportunity to offer Commander Dooley a position with our Department at time that was worked in his career path,” Smith said. “I have known Vernell for a little over three years and was able to observe his personal work ethic, his desire for a collaborative work environment, his commitment to the citizens he served and his concern for the officers under his command. He demonstrated a great deal of maturity and calm responses to challenges he encountered while serving in his previous agency. Commander Dooley was one the highest rated candidates during our interview process and unanimously recommended by my command staff as a candidate for hire in his current position. His resume included outstanding educational, administrative, and training related experience which fit into the Department’s needs very well.”
Dooley was actually chosen from about 50 applications as was his colleague, Byron Stewart, who joined as a Commander and is assigned to supervise the Criminal Investigations Division. Commander Stewart has over 30 years in policing, mostly with the City of Arlington where Dooley said “he was recognized as one of the area’s most respected homicide investigators.”
An Important Role In A Historic Time
As Dooley’s career path morphs, he sees this as a way to further grow in the overall field of police work. To that end he said “This job differs in the scope of my role and responsibilities. As the chief of police for Glenn Heights, I was responsible for every officer and every decision they made as they served the community. As the Professional Standards Commander, while I’m not responsible for every officer and their decisions, I am responsible for the process we use to vet whom we hire, how they are trained, and the policies that guide their decisions. It’s significant because as you know, how officers are trained and the policies that guide their decisions are at the forefront of conversations in our country.”
Dooley said he looks at this time we are living in as a “historic time for our profession, but times like these provide opportunities to get better. I strongly believe that police departments are successful through collaboration with our community and coordination with our partners (Midlothian ISD, businesses, mental health service providers, nonprofit organizations). I anticipate that we will continue to be successful in our service to Midlothian by focusing on our motto ‘Service above Self.’”
“Commander Dooley has been a welcome addition to our staff and has shown the kind of energetic commitment to our staff and community that I had seen over the last three years,” Smith concluded. “His experience as an executive police officer will continue to allow him to work independently while taking the Department towards our stated Goals and Objectives. The Midlothian Police Department is committed to serving our growing community with integrity and professionalism, Commander Dooley will be a major contributor to this Department wide commitment.”