Police Office Q&A: Dan Kelley, Richmond police officer

Police Office Q&A: Dan Kelley, Richmond police officer

By Jason Vallee

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an officer?

For me the most rewarding aspect of police work has always been the satisfaction gained from helping people. Police officers are most often called upon when someone finds themselves the victim of crime, in need of medical aid, or seeking guidance. I’ve had many people thank me over the years for the assistance I’ve been able to provide them. Some have even told me that after finding themselves on the wrong side of the law they turned their life around. A few years back I was leaving the grocery store and bumped into a young man who I had arrested for drug possession. He approached me, shook my hand and thanked me for arresting him. He told me that night he decided to change his life.  He had quit doing drugs and was attending college. 

What was the most unusual call you have responded to?

I think if you ask most guys/gals on the job they would tell you that just when you think you’ve seen it all something far more unusual comes along. One notable call was for a routine car vs. deer. The caller met us at the end of his driveway and when we arrived we observed a car with front end damage. It got strange when we learned that the collision occurred in South Kingstown and after striking deer the operator actually picked it up off the side of the road, placed it across the back seat of his sedan, and drove it home.  He wasn’t sure why he did what he did, and it made a terrible mess out of his vehicle.

How has the job changed over the years?

Over the past 10 years I’ve seen some really good improvements in policing.   Inter-agency information sharing has improved, police uniforms are evolving to be more comfortable, and even simple items like flashlights have improved by leaps and bounds from when I started.  I’ve also noticed an increase in amount of high quality, specialized trainings that are being offered to officers.

What do movies and TV shows get right/wrong about work in law enforcement?

Shows like Law & Order and NCIS are admittingly entertaining but are a far departure from what actual police work looks like. Shows like COPS and Live PD do a better job showing the kind of calls for service and interactions police officers experience. All shows tend to miss the amount of report writing and documentation that goes into police work.  I had no idea just how much typing and paperwork I would be doing when I started. 

What’s the most unusual/strangest question you’ve been asked (in capacity as an officer)?

As the sex offender compliance officer here in Richmond I was conducting a residential home visit with members of Adult Probation, RI State Police ICAC, and others. The visit was awkward at best. The residents were making inappropriate and off-color remarks to members of the task force.  After we left an older lady yelled out the front door asking us “When you boys are done, want to come back here and party?” We politely declined.

More about Dan

Rank/Department: Corporal, Richmond Police Department

Age: 39

Experience: 9 years and 10 months

Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Rhode Island

Hometown: Little Compton, R.I.

Family: Married with 3 children

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