Neis has long law enforcement background
Greg Neis may be a relative newcomer to the Baldwin City Police Department, but he has a long Douglas County law enforcement pedigree.
Neis was named interim police chief three weeks ago after the resignation of Mike McKenna. Neis had joined the department in January as sergeant. But his law enforcement experience dates back to the 1970s.
“I actually started my law enforcement career with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Reserves in 1977,” said Neis, whose family has even longer ties. “My dad was one of the original members of the Douglas County Reserves in the 1960s.
“I’ve been around awhile,” he said. “I’ve been involved in law enforcement pretty much since then.”
At first, his “day job” was construction. Then he farmed. In 1990, he joined the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department full time. That changed with a member of the Eudora Police Department joining the sheriff’s department.
“In July of ’95, Kenny Massey left Eudora to go to Douglas County and I came to Eudora,” said Neis.
Now that he’s had a chance to settle into his new position as head of the Baldwin City department, Neis is making some changes.
“Ever since I’ve been here, people have said, ‘the department should do this, the department should do that,’” he said. “We’ll have a good working environment with City Hall, with public works. We’ll be working to be cohesive, working to be part of the city.
“They didn’t think the chief was visible enough in the community,” said Neis. “I’m a firm believer in that. I want to be seen, I want to be out there.”
He’s also involving the community with the selection of the officer to replace him. He formed a committee of 10 people and they’ll do the initial interviews. The administration will do the second interviews and make the choice.
“I want to let the community see that they have a hand in the police department,” he said.
Neis also said he’ll be working with the sheriff’s department and the Lawrence police where Baldwin City is involved. He also says he likes it here.
“Oh, I like Baldwin,” said Neis. “Baldwin is quieter as far as call volume than Eudora. I think that’s because of being further from the four-lane highway.
“I think I know as many people here as I did in Eudora,” he said. “I run into people I’ve known for years and say I didn’t know you lived here.”
City Administrator Jeff Dingman said there has been no timetable set on naming a new chief.
“We haven't started anything official on the recruitment process yet,” said Dingman. “Greg's leadership has been well received, so there is no sense of urgency to do anything but take our time and make sure we get the right person in place. I anticipate we will start a formal recruitment process in the next month or so.”