While Dan Kinning hasn’t always lived in Hillsboro, he says that it has felt like home more than any other place and he plans on living here for the rest of his life even though he retired on Friday, Oct. 1 from his position of Hillsboro Chief of Police.
Kinning, who is originally from Northern Colorado, moved to Marion County back in 1979 and he has been here ever since.
“I had family out here near Marion, so we came out to visit and we just never left. I love it out here. I’ve been here over 43 years,” said Kinning.
He started out in law enforcement in the Marion County Sheriff’s Department working as the Marion County Undersheriff for over a decade. Kinning moved to the Hillsboro Police Department in 1995. He spent a few years as a patrolman and then moved on to detective. He became Hillsboro Chief of Police in 1999.
While Kinning has held various roles, he said his favorite one has been chief.
“I kinda like the adrenaline rush and being in charge. I liked running things the way I wanted them run,” Kinning said.
He said that he has loved being a part of law enforcement in a small town but the small-town aspect can also make the job hard when it comes to dealing with tragedy because he often knows the people involved in the really bad things he has seen. He found that it’s been the hardest part of the job.
Kinning wasn’t planning on retiring quite this early, but he has had some unexpected health problems with multiple shoulder and back surgeries.
“You don’t realize that every trauma that you go through catches up with you eventually,” he said.
He knows it is time to retire from his position, but he also knows he is going to miss it.
“I will miss being a part of the department and the camaraderie of my guys. I’m gonna miss them. I’ve got a really great crew right now. And I always like helping people. That’s why I got into this business in the first place. I think a lot of people forget that we spend most of our time helping people. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do my whole life,” Kinning said.
But he has plans he is looking forward to as well.
“For the short term, I’ve got some projects I want to do. I have at least a week’s worth of yard work to catch up on. I also like to work on old cars with my son so we are going to be starting on one for a father-son project,” said Kinning.
He also plans to work again at some point when he is healthier and will probably look at something in law enforcement with investigations or administration. He wants to stick with what he knows and what he is good at.
Kinning said, “I just know I will miss this too much to quit it completely.”
So for now, while he heals, he will work on his list of projects. His wife will be retiring down the road as well and Kinning hopes to maybe do some traveling with her after that happens.
Kinning leaves the job thankful for his time there.
“I want to thank everybody. The last two mayors and last two administrators have really been good to me. I’ve always liked Hillsboro and I plan to stay here the rest of my life. I just want to thank everybody for what they did for me and for helping me in my career,” said Kinning.
The Hillsboro City Council will be discussing the plan for replacing Kinning in the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 5. In the meantime, Assistant Chief of Police Jessey Hiebert will be acting chief.
“Dan Kinning has been an amazing Chief of Police for Hillsboro. He has put together and led a great team and has worked tirelessly to keep the citizens of Hillsboro safe. I have always said that Dan has the ‘touch’ when it comes to small-town policing. He knows when to push and when to step back always keeping the safety of our community at the forefront. We will miss Dan and wish him nothing but the best in this next chapter of his life,” said Hillsboro Mayor Lou Thurston.
Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles said, “Dan’s served this community for 26 years and knows this community as well as anyone. A lot of things have changed in policing over the years, but Dan and his team have always excelled. The Hillsboro Police Department is the best around and Dan deserves credit for his leadership and dedication getting us to that. I’m excited for Dan and his next adventure. We all wish him the best.”