How many people know, from about the age of 9, what they want to be when they grow up?
Doug Reim, Highland Village’s new chief of police, knew he wanted to be a police officer when he was still in grammar school. Born in Green Bay, Wis., his family later settled in Fond du Lac, Wis., about 70 miles away. His father joined the Fond du Lac PD when Doug was in the third grade.
At the age of 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became a member of the Office of Special Investigations, essentially doing police work. While being actively involved in several areas of military operations, he completed training at the FBI Academy, earned two associate degrees and a bachelors degree from Springfield College in Milwaukee. Later in his criminal justice career, he went on to earn a master’s degree at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.
After the first six years with the Air Force, Doug joined the Fond du Lac Police Department and spent eight years there before being recalled for active duty in 2001 after 9/11. He became a Naval Air Station resident agent in charge of counter intelligence.
The Fond du Lac Police Department held his position until he came back a few years later. It was only a short time later that the police chief position in the Tarrant County city of Westworth Village became available. He applied and was selected.
Chief Reim (pronounced rhyme) has lived in Flower Mound with his wife Debbie (whom he met while bicycling on a north shore bike trail) and their five children for the past eight years.
“This area is a beautiful place to live, work and raise a family,” the chief said, during a recent interview at my Flower Mound home. “Flower Mound, Highland Village and its environs have so many pluses and very few minuses. For one thing, the crime rate is low, the officers are well-trained and I think, by and large, the residents like and respect the police.”
Chief Reim’s personal philosophy includes a belief that everything is about compromise. “As a leader your goal is to get things done in the end. Not just your goals, but, in the spirit of compromise, the goals of others as well,” he said. “There are just not enough cops to do everything, so we rely on citizens not to be the police, but to help by being the eyes and ears of their respective communities.”
He believes the police can’t just operate from a strict enforcement aspect. “If you just enforce the laws you will lose the support. So, the community policing, bringing people in, doing programs, having cops in homes and meetings is a way of saying, ‘Hey, we are a team in this whole process.’”
An articulate and knowledgeable student of the Constitutional principles applied to the justice system and a strong advocate of friendly police-community relations, Reim appears to be the type of leader who will build a comfortable relationship between residents and cops.
“The best way to prevent crime is for the police to have a free and open communication with the residents they serve,” he said. Quoting Sir Robert Peel, known as the father of modern policing, the chief said, “The public are the police and the police are the public, but the police are only the ones that get paid for the process.”
Recently, when HVPD Chief Ed O’Bara announced his retirement after 14 years as the top cop of the scenic city on the northern border of Flower Mound, City Manager Michael Leavitt started interviewing applicants. During the vetting process for employment, which included scores of officers from many other departments, Doug and two other candidates made the final list for consideration.
While still evaluating them, Leavitt paid a visit to Doug’s base to see how he operated. He and the other candidate were told that they’d receive a call notifying them who had been selected. The deciding call was expected the following day. Doug went to his office as usual and went about the business of his day, but couldn’t help anticipating the call.
When it was well past 9 a.m. he began to think, “This doesn’t look good.” He was involved in something about 11 a.m. when his cell phone rang. Since he was busy and the number was unfamiliar to him, he declined to answer.
Soon, the call came through again and he recognized it as Mike Leavitt’s, so he excused himself and took it. The city manager asked if he had a few minutes to talk. “Can I get back to you because I’m right in the middle of something,” he replied. Leavitt graciously accepted the response and was about to hang up when Doug must have decided he couldn’t wait. “Mike, Mike,” he said eagerly, “is this something bad or good?” Leavitt responded with, “Well, I’m right outside your office, so you tell me if it’s bad or good.”
One of the first things the new chief did was to ask his staff to give him resumes on themselves in whatever format or order they wanted. In addition, he asked them to tell him what their long and short term goals are; both personally and career wise. He says he will use this as a springboard to focus on department leadership.
The HVPD consists of 31 officers, including supervisory personnel from sergeants to an assistant chief. Doug is a member of the Texas Police Chiefs Association and speaks fondly of his predecessor.
“I’d like to fill Ed O’Bara’s shoes and hopefully do as well as he did,” he said proudly.