Darin Chance

Darin Chance to be new Bowling Green Police chief. Submitted photo

BOWLING GREEN—The Bowling Green Board of Aldermen and Mayor Jim Arico have selected Darin Chance as the new chief of police for the city.

Chance was chosen from a solid field of candidates to succeed Don Nacke, who recently announced his retirement after seven years as Bowling Green’s top cop.

Chance, interviewed by phone, is currently police chief for the Ash Grove Police Department, which is not too far from Springfield, Mo. He’s still in the process of wrapping up administrative functions in Ash Grove before making the transition to Bowling Green. His start date here is Nov. 1. He noted there’s a lot to do, because he’s not just moving from one department to another, but also from one corner of the state to another.

“It’s like trying to drink from a fire house,” he said about the amount of things he has to finish before moving.

From early childhood on, Chance said, he’s always wanted to be in law enforcement, and his dream job—when he became qualified—was to be chief of police in a great community.

Back before they had school resource officers, he said, members of the local department would come to his elementary school to visit with the students.

“I remember looking up to the officers when I lived in Independence,” he said. “They had a good rapport with kids.” He noted that they left an indelible mark on him, as well as some of his good buddies, who would also eventually become police officers.

But Chance didn’t start out in law enforcement.

He started out in education after getting a degree in history and a second degree in social studies. Chance said he enjoyed teaching and coaching wrestling. But the call of the badge was strong, so he left teaching and went to the Western Missouri Regional Police Academy, much to the chagrin of his mother, he said. His first job was going to be in Blue Springs he added, but there were no full-time positions available on the force when he graduated from the academy.

He was able to secure a job with the University of Missouri’s Police Department, where he worked patrol, as a major case squad investigator, a field training officer and a police instructor. He also took on crime prevention and did community outreach, just like he remembered the Independence police officers from his youth.

While working in Columbia, Mo., Chance joined the National Guard, and served overseas in Iraq, Kuwait and Germany with the military police. After 9-11, he said, he felt compelled to serve his country on a much larger scale.

In 2006, Chance left Columbia and took a job with the Grain Valley Police Department. He did crime prevention and community outreach there, as well, taking on the job of DARE officer and school resource officer He also did some part-time work with the Lake Tapawingo Police Department during that time.

He’s always wanted an opportunity to lead a department, leave his mark and help that department grow. And that’s what happened after learning from a friend that Ash Grove was in need of a new police chief.

“I had a 5-year plan,” he said about helping the department modernize its technology. More than four years into that plan, Chance said he felt comfortable turning it over to someone else.

“I just want to make it as easy as possible for the next person (who becomes police chief here),” he said.

He has continued his law enforcement training, graduating from the Missouri Police Chief Command College, getting a degree in criminal justice, and going through the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development program, as well as achieving numerous certificates for job related studies.

One of the things Chance said he looks forward to the most is getting out in the community and meeting the people of Bowling Green. He’s also big on transparency and wants to do more with school safety and community outreach. He’s currently the chair of the Missouri School Resource Officers Association.

“It’s important for officers to get out into the community, and be ingrained in the community,” he said. “That way, they can build rapport with the community. You want people to be comfortable with their police department, and also feel as they have buy-in.”

Right now, his most difficult task, Chase said, is trying to find a place to rent in Bowling Green. Where he is now outside of Springfield, he noted, is about a 15-minute drive from Ash Grove.

“I’m not opposed to a short commute,” he said. “It’s a beautiful drive. So, it’s nice to have a 15 minute decompression on the way home and a 15 minute preparation on the way in.”

Recommended for you