Dillon Police Chief Mark Heminghous to retire
DILLON — Dillon Police Chief Mark Heminghous is retiring next month after 26 years in law enforcement.
Heminghous was named chief of the Dillon Police Department in 2014 after a career in various agencies around Colorado and in Summit County. And officials say he won’t be easy to replace.
“It’s well-deserved, I can tell you that,” said Blue River Police Chief Ahmet Susic, who formally worked under Heminghous at the Frisco Police Department. “But it’s going to be a great loss for this community with his experience and his dedication to the line of work.”
Heminghous grew up in Springfield, Illinois, with an early interest in law enforcement.
“I’ve got an essay I wrote around second grade about wanting to be a police officer,” Heminghous said. “I just never wanted to do anything else.”
He pursued his interest into college and spent two years studying law enforcement administration at Western Illinois University before finishing his degree in criminology at Florida State University.
Heminghous began his career doing security work and traveling around the country for the Wackenhut Corporation and Apple, which eventually led to his move to Colorado. He attended the police academy in 1993 and took on his first officer post with the Broomfield Police Department.
Heminghous joined the Boulder Police Department three years later, where he took on roles in narcotics and on the SWAT team. He was hired by Breckenridge in 2003 as part of the drug task force, and he joined the Frisco Police Department later that year as a sergeant. He later went on to serve as a commander of the Summit County SWAT Team.
“He had good traits for both situational and transformational leadership,” Susic said. “At Frisco, he was the SWAT commander, and he lead that team. On the other side, he was focusing his attention toward officers, helping and encouraging them to eventually become leaders within that organization.”
He was hired as the chief of police in Dillon in 2014. He said he was drawn to the idea of a small agency where he’d still be able to hit the streets.
“I really liked the operations side of it,” Heminghous said. “I wouldn’t want to work for an agency that was big enough where I couldn’t go walk the street for a while. I love getting out with the officers and being a part of patrols and investigations.”
Heminghous said he’ll miss that aspect of the job, along with his colleagues at the police departments and dispatch center, but that it was time to say goodbye to the world of law enforcement.
“My wife (Jeri) is ready for me to retire after 26 years because she’s done 26 years, too,” Heminghous said. “She’s been on the sidelines when I did a lot of things. I talked to her just before going to Columbine and going to Granby. She’s put up with those kinds of calls for a long time.
“Right now, we have such a great team at Dillon that I can walk away and feel confident the agency will continue without missing a beat. … I’m really proud of the team we have.”
Heminghous said he and his wife are moving to Bend, Oregon, where they plan on finding new trails to hike and new rivers to fish.
Heminghous will officially retire Aug. 3. The Dillon Town Council is expected to appoint an interim police chief during its regular meeting July 21. A new chief also will be appointed by the Town Council.
“We’re going to miss him,” said Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s communications director. He’s been a great community leader and a great community advocate. He was chief with grace, compassion and integrity, and we’re been really thankful for that.”
In lieu of a more formal sendoff given COVID-19 concerns, Dillon is asking those who want to wish Heminghous well to send a card or letter to Dillon Town Hall, c/o of Mark Heminghous, P.O. Box 8, Dillon, CO 80435.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Heminghous said. “Leaving Dillon is going to be very hard, very bittersweet. And I’m going to miss all the folks that I work with.”
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