North Texas Daily

Doug Shoemaker takes over as Denton police chief

Doug Shoemaker takes over as Denton police chief

Doug Shoemaker takes over as Denton police chief
October 04
08:00 2022

Doug Shoemaker was officially sworn in as Denton’s police chief on Monday.

Shoemaker previously served as chief of police in Grand Junction, Colorado since June 2018 and spent over 26 years with the Jefferson City Police Department in Missouri. He has experience managing and leading a variety of police units, including investigations and narcotics, and served as a public information officer for over 12 years.

Shoemaker helped manage the NAACP’s Journey for Justice march in response to the 2014 police officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri. He was also appointed to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Police Standards Ethics and Image Committee.

Additionally, he is a member of police associations, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.

“I think his track record for working alongside men and women […] really speaks to the type of human being he is before being a police chief and police officer,” said Frank Dixon, assistant city manager and former police chief. “I think his fundamentals align with what we want as far as his morals, values and what he views as being the next step for the police department.”

Shoemaker’s selection for the position was announced in August, five months after Dixon announced his departure from the department. 

“The agency already has a great reputation,” Shoemaker said. “My goal is to do what Assistant City Manager Dixon has done and then really take that to the next level.”

As the fifth vice president of the IACP, Shoemaker said he has seen a lot of new, different strategies taking place as policing evolves. With this experience, he hopes to lead the Denton Police Department along the path of understanding community needs and the principles of community policing.

“My goal is to tell [the department’s] stories because there are some wonderful people in here that have changed people’s lives and done some wonderful things,” Shoemaker said.

A sign for the chief of police swearing-in ceremony stands in the hallway of the Public Safety Training Center on Oct. 3, 2022. Photo by Kelly Tran

Lieutenant Bryan Cose said Dixon’s four-year tenure revamped policies and methods of training, which has been a big component of the department becoming an even more professional organization. He said he hopes to see the department continue working to solve community problems during Shoemaker’s transition.

“He seems to bring a lot of compassion for the community with him,” Cose said. “I look forward to Shoemaker continuing that and bringing in new ideas, new types of training and new ways that we can better serve.”

Mayor Gerard Hudspeth, who gave special remarks at Monday’s ceremony, said police officers face challenges, especially in a time where Google “is the bane of all existence” and “everything is being recorded.”

Shoemaker said, at times, information shared about the police on social media has no forms of vetting or reality checks. Because of this, he said he and other public officials aim to educate others on what the department does, how they do it and why.

By taking advantage of community involvement opportunities, like Citizens Police Academy and this weekend’s Denton Arts & Jazz Fest, Shoemaker said he hopes to connect and converse with the community.

“I’ve built bridges, whereas maybe other folks haven’t done as good of a job at some of those types of things,” Shoemaker said. “But I want to hear about your experiences, get to know people and those types of things because I think that just makes us better police agents. When we come to that understanding and see where [people] are coming from, I think it starts working relationships that could just be absolutely amazing.”

As he learns more about Denton’s community, Shoemaker said he hopes the community gets to see that he is just part of the team at the Police Department. He said he fully realizes the weight and challenges that come with being the police chief, but he wants people to understand that he, too, can relate to and understand his new community.

“It’s not just about being a police professional, it’s also about being somebody who wants to be part of the community too,” Shoemaker said. “As I get involved, and I start to meet people, I think we’ll sort of see that and understand that and hopefully it translates over.”

Featured Image: Judge Tyler Atkinson performs the Ceremonial Oath of Office to swear in Doug Shoemaker as the new chief of the Denton Police Department on Oct. 3, 2022. Photo by Kelly Tran

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Samantha Thornfelt

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