Skiatook hires Owasso police chief as new city manager
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/16/13 at 3:50 AM
SKIATOOK - Longtime Owasso Police Chief Dan Yancey is leaving to become the new city manager of Skiatook.
The Skiatook City Council approved the hiring at a special meeting Monday night, Mayor Josh Brown said.
Yancey, 49, who was Skiatook's police chief for 2 1/2 years in the early 2000s, has been Owasso's chief since January 2003.
"His ability to lead is what got our attention, along with his experience in Skiatook already," Brown said. "We knew what he could bring to the table as far as a leadership role.
"There's never a circumstance I can remember where he has lost his professionalism or composure. When it gets hot under the collar, he's there. He's cool as a cucumber most of the time."
Yancey, who is scheduled to start at Skiatook on Feb. 11, will move into a position similar to that of former Town Coordinator Martin Tucker, who walked away from his job this summer after the town declined to renew his contract.
Skiatook voters in November approved a proposition to switch from a town form of government to council-city manager template.
Although he never has been a city manager, Yancey has more than 28 years experience in law enforcement, including stints with the Pawhuska and Skiatook police departments and the Osage County Sheriff's Office.
Brown said he worked with Yancey in the Sheriff's Office.
"He has 20-plus years in municipal government experience," Brown said. "You have to be proven, and he's been proven. He's led the Owasso Police Department, and that's a good department. We're excited."
Yancey will receive a two-year contract with an annual base salary of $70,000, plus benefits, Brown said. Yancey said years ago that he planned on retiring from law enforcement when he turned 50, which is less than a month away.
"Actually, I was thinking about totally retiring," he said. "This came along and I thought maybe I can make a difference somewhere else."
Yancey said his administrative experience will aid him in his new endeavor.
"It's given me somewhat of a good background," he said. "There's going to be a learning curve. That's why you have good directors who report to you on certain situations in their discipline. I'm hoping I can be really effective at it."
Litigation in the Owasso Police Department is at an "all-time low," Yancey said. But a pair of cases recently have made headlines.
This month, a Tulsa County judge ruled that an arbitrator's decision to reinstate an Owasso police officer accused of elbowing a Collinsville man in the face during the man's arrest violates Oklahoma public policy.
Tulsa County Associate District Judge Dana Kuehn found that reinstating Lt. Mike Denton would pose "a special risk of injury, physical and psychological, to citizens and, if he is allowed reinstatement, the department will be faced with explaining why Owasso allows abusive conduct by its officers, which is against the law."
Denton was fired in November 2011 because his actions against the Collinsville man violated the Police Department's use-of-force policy, according to the city.
An arbitrator ruled in June that Denton should be reinstated, a decision the city appealed.
Also in January, U.S. District Judge James Payne dismissed a lawsuit filed by three current or former Owasso police officers who claimed to have suffered financial losses and humiliation as a result of the temporary suspension of the department's defensive tactics program.
The program was suspended in the wake of the controversy surrounding Denton's firing.
Owasso City Manager Rodney Ray said: "I would have preferred Dan to have stayed here forever. He certainly is one of the better police chiefs I have worked with. I think his legacy here will be a Police Department that embraced technology and looked for ways to serve the public."
Deputy Police Chief Scott Chambless is expected to be named interim chief, Ray said.
Ray said Yancey is "a really good fit for Skiatook. To be a city manager, I think you have to have a lot of skills other than just city management. Dan has those. He'll do well."
Original Print Headline: Owasso's top cop to be Skiatook's new city manager
Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395
Owasso Police Chief Dan Yancey: Skiatook's police chief for 2 1/2 years in the early 2000s, he has been Owasso's chief since January 2003. "His ability to lead is what got our attention, along with his experience in Skiatook already," Mayor Josh Brown said. "We knew what he could bring to the table as far as a leadership role."