CAMBRIDGE — “I’ve worked hard, I was upwardly mobile, I was a crime scene investigator, a detective and a sergeant, a lieutenant, studying for promotional exams over Christmas — now with 22 years on the job I come here, and I’m a rookie again!” So said Chief Daniel Dvorak shortly after he was sworn in by Victoria Jackson-Stanley on Monday, beginning his term as Cambridge City’s new police chief.
Chief Dvorak comes from Newport, RI, where he last served as a lieutenant on the force there. He was joined for the searing in by his wife, Denise, and a large contingent of family. On hand were his mother and father, Charles and Doreen Dvorak, who traveled from Florida; his three kids — 13-year-old Nathan, 17-year-old Rachel and 20-year-old Joshua; and his brother David, who flew in from Kansas.
Rachel will be staying in Rhode Island until summer, to finish high school there. Joshua is a sophomore at Citadel Military College in South Carolina, and was accompanied by his girlfriend, Samantha Manucy. A number of other family and friends were present for the ceremony, and also a contingent of officers from his home force. Introducing the group of ten police officers from Newport who came to see their colleague off, Mayor Jackson-Stanley said, “Gentlemen, this is now your home.”
Speaking of his introduction to Cambridge, Chief Dvorak said, “I came down for my interview and did a lot of research on the community. So while the interview committee was evaluating me, I was evaluating them and the city. I got to learn about the city of Cambridge, and fell in love with the city — which is a bad thing to do when you’re interviewing, because you never know how it’s going to work out!”
It seems the Eastern Shore worked its spell on the Chief. “Cambridge is just the most beautiful place,” he said. “I will really be able to use my creativity and my skills to make some changes.
“Moving forward, I have a lot to learn about Cambridge and Dorchester County, and Maryland — I have a lot to learn. I’m going to be riding with my officers, I’m going to be learning about the community, finding out what the community wants from their police department, so we can provide the best service possible. As I learn, I have things in mind, I have plans, I have things that I would like to do. But I’m not really going to tell you what I want, I want to hear from you what we need to do. And then we’re going to mesh the two. We’re going to come up with a good, solid plan to re-brand the police department, and make it great.”
It’s going to be quite an experience. I see this department as a blank canvas, I see all of you — we have a lot of great things to do together. We’re going to start working on that. If I don’t reach out to you, please reach out to me. We’re going to work together on this. Thank you all, I can’t wait to start working with you.”
The chief’s enthusiasm is apparent, and infectious. “I’m looking forward to working with him,” said County Sheriff James Phillips. “I think he’s going to be good for the police department, and good for the town.”
Chief Dvorak and his family will be staying in a condo while they look for a house right inside of Cambridge. House hunting will take up some of his time, but it was plain he was ready to get right to work getting comfortable in Cambridge.
“My plan so far is to learn. To meet with my officers, find out what everybody wants from their police department, because that’s what we are. We do this to serve the people,” said the Chief. “So I’m going to learn, for the first couple months, but my goal from the outset is community and communication. That means getting in touch with the community, getting officers involved with the community, getting the community to learn what the police department does, so that everybody knows what’s going on behind these brick walls.
“And at the same time we’re going to be communicating with people, we’re going to be reaching out to people. They’re going to have my phone number, my e-mail address. I’m going to talk with all my officers individually, and then I’m going to reach out to the community. And anybody I don’t reach out to in the community, anybody I miss, should reach out to me, should contact me, because I need their input to find out what we could be doing better.”
So far, he admitted to just one difficulty: the right way to pronounce Dvorak, his last name. “I’ve learned my name seems difficult locally, so I think I’ll be going with “Chief Dan” a lot, to make things simpler.”
Welcome to town, Chief Dan.