Logan Township’s new police chief doesn’t want residents to interact with his officers solely in connection with criminal behavior.
“I want to focus on getting the guys into the community,” Dave Hoover said Friday — the day after community leaders promoted the 31-year-old department veteran from acting boss to top job. “I want them to go out and be seen.”
He wants officers to leave their cars, walk around and “get in touch with people” said Hoover.
Such community policing is “more personal,” he said.
It means talking to business owners, “Citizens on the Move” and children in schools, Hoover said.
In recent weeks, officials have been walking through the Logan Valley Mall and going to schools to set up programs that include activities like having lunch with students and showing off the K9 unit, he said.
It is useful for young people to get to know the police in non-threatening situations. “Show them that we are human too” he said. “Not just what they see and hear on TV and the news.”
He plans to be available himself.
“My door is open” he showed off “If someone needs to call, they can — complaints, praise, whatever.”
Hoover still gets “settled in,” following the recent retirement of his predecessor, Dave Reese.
Township manager Tim Brown helps tutor him on administrative tasks, including the “Recruitment Procedures,” Disciplinary action requiring lawyers’ involvement and budgeting, he said.
“I leaned on him a lot” Hoover said of Brown.
The department has currently lost two members from its full staff of 16 officers.
“We are hiring,” said Hoover.
One such vacancy is the post Hoover once held.
The current group is doing a “fantastic job,” but in a department as small as Logans, with 47 square miles, 4,500 homes and a population that swells in business districts during the day, two job offers make a world of difference, he said.
Aside from administrative duties, Hoover said he did everything there was to do during his time with Logan.
This included patrols, investigations, crime scene processing, evidence gathering and narcotics duties, as well as working in the evidence room and with the Special Weapons and Tactics and Special Emergency Response teams.
“I will not ask my officers to do anything I have not already done.” said Hoover.
The new boss sees his situation as happy.
“A lot of bosses that come in have issues[related to]transforming their departments.” he said. “I haven’t. We are a fully functioning department.”
Those other bosses have issues that need fixing, he said.
“I don’t have anything that needs fixing.” he said, while adding that, like families, there are occasional disagreements and arguments.
vacuum cleaner “kinda liked” to the police. He attended Penn State Altoona, studied criminal justice, and took a part-time job with the campus Auxiliary Police Department.
“I liked it” he said.
He eventually got a part-time job with the Martinsburg Police Department, along with concurrent part-time jobs in Roaring Spring and North Woodbury Township departments.
Martinsburg sent him to the Regional Police Academy at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Cresson, where he graduated in 1989.
He still liked it – “Being out there, helping people, getting involved in the community” he said. “It felt right, so I stayed.”
He started with Logan in 1992.
During investigations into child abuse “get dressed” and nobody likes dealing with fatal accidents, the good far outweighs the bad, he said.
Through the police he has “I’ve talked to a lot of people and done a lot of things that I couldn’t have done.” in no other job, he said.
Hoover, who grew up outside of Martinsburg, graduated from Central High School in 1989. He and his wife Karolyn have four daughters.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler can be reached at 814-949-7038.