Age 36 | Police chief, Windsor Heights

In Windsor Heights, the police chief wears many hats.

“I will cover rollover phone calls. I have the glorious position of being the head dog catcher and head parking lot attendant, too,” said Dennis McDaniel when he took a telephone call recently from a Business Record reporter.

A quick glance at the resume will tell you that McDaniel’s life is a little more complicated than that.

McDaniel joined the Windsor Heights Police Department in 2003 and advanced through the ranks as an officer, captain, and, in 2010, chief.

He quickly set about getting the entire department involved in establishing goals and policies that would revolve around four core values of protection, service, enforcement and education.

The idea was for officers to view work in Windsor Heights as a lifetime career opportunity, not merely as a stepping stone.

“We had people interested in investing incareers here,” McDaniel said. “I wanted to get them engaged in the fundamentals of policing, and I also got them involved in goals and policy so they would become stakeholders.”

Officers helped design an honor code, and he implemented the establishment of goals for each of the department’s divisions.

McDaniel also was a force in adopting automated traffic enforcement tools, such as traffic cameras, and raised the funds to implement a canine unit.

He was chairman of the Central Iowa Traffic Safety Task Force from 2007 to 2009 and he was named chairman last year of the Polk County Law Enforcement Executives Association.

“Dennis is reliable, creative, innovative, and his attention to detail is unmatched,” former Windsor Heights City Administrator Marketa Oliver said in a letter nominating McDaniel for Forty Under 40.


Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Involved with neighborhood outreach programs such as Neighborhood Watch, National Night Out and Special Olympics Iowa.

• Taught Rape Aggression Defense to women in Greater Des Moines.

• Developed a volunteer police reserve program in Windsor Heights.

• Increased the number of traffic stops by metro police agencies while a project manager with the Central Iowa Traffic Safety Task Force to 3,707 in 2009 from 986 in 2006.

• National award winner for National Night Out in 2011.

Mentor: Marketa Oliver, Norwalk city manager

Fun fact: Keeps a “Dukes” of Hazzard trash can in his office as a reminder not to take life too seriously. A fan of the old television series, he has had the trash can since he was a boy growing up in Clinton.