National Mentoring Month: An Experienced Chief’s Perspective on the Value of Mentoring a New Police Chief

In recognition of National Mentoring Month, we asked Chief Dave Funkhouser of the Kiel, Wisconsin, Police Department to share his experience as a mentor with IACP’s New Police Chief Mentoring program:

KPD-DF-2014_Blog“Remember your first day as Chief? I do. It was a mix of excitement and concern and joy and hesitation all rolled up in a big old ball of emotions. On the outside I was looking good and ready to go but inside I was flopping like a fish out of water. Would I make the right decision? How do I handle the Mayor, the media, the public if something really bad happens? Those were just some of the questions I had circling in my head. But I also had a comforting feeling of support too. I knew my job, I was confident in my abilities, but even more so, I knew I had a network of fellow chiefs that were there to help me and they did. One call or email often resulted in numerous responses of guidance and advice. More often than not I had already made the right decision but to have it verified by one or more of my peers was extremely helpful.

That’s why when I had the opportunity to give back to our profession as a mentor, I did so without hesitation. I can say that being a mentor has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career as Chief of Police. Being able to provide assistance and guidance to a newly hired Chief is extremely gratifying because you are giving back to a profession that has given so much to others and this is a chance to give back to us. To be able to give back by helping those of us just starting out in the position as Chief of Police is a great feeling and only strengthens our profession overall. Over the years I have developed many long lasting friendships and an amazing network of support throughout the career field. We are all in this together and we are foolish if we do not help each other by sharing our experiences, good and bad, and offer support and advice to those of us just starting out. I strongly encourage my fellow Chiefs to consider mentoring others in our profession.”

Dave Funkhouser
Chief of Police – City of Kiel (WI)
1st Vice President – Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association

Are you ready to give back to the law enforcement profession as a mentor?

IACP’s New Police Chief Mentoring program provides a platform for new and experienced chiefs to connect, share information, work through issues, and advance the quality of leadership in the profession. Mentor pairings may be brief to work through a specific issue or they may follow a more traditional mentor relationship of three to six months. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to establish their own timelines and needs.

For questions about becoming a mentor or finding a mentoring, contact Jennifer Styles at or 1-800-THE-IACP, ext. 804.

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