Navigating High-Profile Incidents in a Smaller Community
This conference workshop presentation discusses the unique challenges smaller and rural agencies face preventing and solving crime when dealing with the media, politicians, and residents. From AMBER Alerts to Homicide Investigations, police executives in smaller communities face unique challenges when dealing with the media, politicians, and residents. The presentation offers insight from a 17-year police chief from a community of under 12,000 people.
Chief, Dudley, Massachusetts, Police Department
Chief Steven Wojnar is a graduate of Quinsigamond Community College and Western New England College where he received his Masters Degree in 2001. Chief Wojnar was hired as a part time officer and dispatcher in the Town of Dudley in 1988. He was promoted to full time in 1990 and Sergeant in 2002. He has served as Chief since January of 2003. During his career he has served as the Department Court Liaison Officer and Crime Scene Technician. The chief is active in the local schools, formerly serving as a field attendance officer, assisted in starting the local School Resource Officer Program, and is known as 'Officer Friendly' for his work at the Mason Road Elementary School where he has lunch and other informal interactions with the kids to promote positive relationships between police and students. Since being promoted to Chief, he has been involved in many cases, including the first ever Amber Alert in Massachusetts in 2003. The Chief serves on many local boards/committees, including the United Way of Webster and Dudley, Helping Address the Needs of Dudley Seniors (HANDS), and the Southern Worcester County Drug and Counter Crime Task Force. He is Past President of the Central MA Chiefs of Police from 2012, a member of the Executive Planning Committee for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association in 2018. Currently he serves as Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Legislative Committee as well as other positions within the organization. He has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Criminal Justice Program at Nichols College since 2009. The Chief was inducted into the Grafton High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.