Baldwin City Greg Neis may be a newcomer to the Baldwin City Police Department, but he has a long Douglas County law enforcement pedigree.
Neis was named interim police chief three weeks ago after the resignation of Mike McKenna.
Neis had joined the department in January as sergeant. But his law enforcement experience dates back to the 1970s.
“I actually started my law enforcement career with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Reserves in 1977,” Neis said. “My dad was one of the original members of the Douglas County Reserves in the 1960s.
“I’ve been around awhile. I’ve been involved in law enforcement pretty much since then.”
At first, his “day job” was construction. Then he farmed. In 1990, he joined the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department full time.
That changed when a member of the Eudora Police Department joined the sheriff’s department.
“In July of ’95, (now Sheriff) Ken McGovern left Eudora to go to Douglas County and I came to Eudora,” Neis said.
Now that he’s had a chance to settle into his new position as head of the Baldwin City department, Neis is making some changes.
“Ever since I’ve been here, people have said, ‘The department should do this, the department should do that,’” he said. “We’ll have a good working environment with City Hall, with public works. We’ll be working to be cohesive, working to be part of the city.
“I’m a firm believer in (being visible in the community). I want to be seen, I want to be out there.”
He’s also involving the community with the selection of the officer to replace him. He formed a 10-person committee to do the initial interviews.
The administration will do the second interviews and make the choice.
“I want to let the community see that they have a hand in the police department,” he said.
Neis also said he’ll be working with the sheriff’s department and Lawrence police wherever Baldwin City is involved.
City Administrator Jeff Dingman said no timetable is set on naming a new chief, and neither Neis nor Dingman would say whether Neis was a candidate for the job.
“Greg’s leadership has been well received, so there is no sense of urgency to do anything but take our time and make sure we get the right person in place,” Dingman said. “I anticipate we will start a formal recruitment process in the next month or so.”