Facts & Frequently Asked Questions
McMinnville Police Department Facts
When Warren County was founded in 1807, it was like most rural areas of the time where county wide law enforcement duties rested mainly in the hands of the sheriff. The sheriff also doubled as the tax collector. Being the county seat and the center of commerce, McMinnville was the main concentration of Warren County’s population and soon started to develop the need for an increased level of law enforcement. From that need, the McMinnville Police Department began to emerge. Municipal ledgers indicate the McMinnville Police Department was actually formed on November 17, 1933. However, records also show numerous law enforcement officers were hired by city leaders as early as the period just after the Civil War. For example, in 1868, two "special policemen" were appointed for the town of McMinnville and served for 30 months. There were probably city law enforcement officers before the Civil War, but it is unclear as many records of the period were destroyed during Union occupation of the city. Several men filled the role of city law enforcement officer in the early 1900`s, including J. H. Hutchins, H. S. Molloy, and Jackson Byars. However, most people accept E.F. Chambers as the first Chief of Police of an organized police department. The department consisted of Chambers and two sworn police officers. The Chief of Police was then elected in the same manner as the mayor and alderman until the mid-1940's when he began to be appointed by the board of mayor and alderman. Chambers was elected by citizens in 1931, 1933 and 1935. Those who have served as Police Chief include Chambers, J.M. 'Jap' Bain, Eldridge Youngblood, Lon Parish, 'Fats' Hendrix, A.E. 'Doc' Grissom, Bill Beliew, Herman Mitchell, 'Red' Jared, Charlie Reeves, Ralph Griffith, Herb Graeser, Bobby Southard, Dickie Kesey, Joe Melton, Charlie Sewell and Bryan Denton.
Bryan Denton is the current Chief of Police. He heads a department that consists of 35 sworn officers, 1 patrol warden/court officer and 3 clerks. Major Mike Lane is second in command and is the Support Services Division Commander. Captain Derwin Adcock heads the Detective Division.
The Operations Division consists of 26 officers. The division shift commanders are Lieutenant Lisa Norris, Lieutenant Mark Mara, Lieutenant Ben Cantrell and Lieutenant Paul Springer. The Uniform Division works 12.25 hour shifts, rotating weekends off.
The department serves a population of approximately 14,000. On average, monthly, the department answers 2,100 calls for service, issues 400 citations, investigates 60 traffic accidents, and makes 100 arrests. Officers routinely hold public education forums on a variety of subjects such as crime prevention, drug abuse awareness and safety programs.
Recently, across the country, there have been several tragic incidents resulting from contact between citizens and police officers. The McMinnville Police Department is concerned and would like to avoid having these types of situations occur in our city. For this reason, we offer this information to help citizens better understand what to expect from police officers if they are stopped and/or questioned, hopefully this will help to minimize your stress and anxiety. A familiarization with law enforcement concerns and practices will help avert needless confrontation or misunderstandings. Read More....
Most citizens already realize that law enforcement is a difficult and dangerous profession. Hundreds of police officers are killed each year, and thousands more are injured and assaulted. Although the procedures maximize safety for the officer, they may seem standoffish, impolite or offensive to citizens who may not consider such precautions necessary. Even though you have no intention of doing the officer harm, he or she will probably maintain a defensive posture until the officer feels that there is no risk of confrontation or injury. As far as police officers are concerned, there is no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop. Every stop has the potential for danger.
Innocent individuals are often offended or angered, or both, because an officer has detained them for questioning. Although the delay might be inconvenient to you, the officer believes there is a reason (reasonable suspicion) to stop you and ask questions. Most of these stops are not officer-initiated. The most common reasons that cause an officer to stop someone are as follows:
- You might be one of only a few people walking around in the vicinity of a crime that has recently occurred.
- Your clothing might be similar or identical to that worn by the perpetrator of a crime.
- Someone may have called the police complaining about your presence or that you looked suspicious.
- Someone may have pointed you out to the officer.
- You might be acting in a manner that the officer considers suspicious and you may act even more suspicious after realizing that the officer is observing you.
The police officer does not wish to detain you any longer than necessary. Once the officer is able to determine that you are not the individual that he or she is looking for, the officer will often apologize for the inconvenience and then quickly leave to resume the search.
- Avoid making sudden movements (for your wallet, into your coat, toward your waistband, etc.) until you have informed the officer of your intention to do so and the officer has said it’s okay.
- Do not carry weapons (real or otherwise) or even joke about having a weapon on your person.
- Do not touch the police officer or violate his or her “person” safety zone (2 ½-3 feet).
- Remain calm and avoid being argumentative. (If you are uncooperative and refuse to answer reasonable questions, the officer is likely to become more suspicious and the encounter will probably last much longer than necessary).
- Comply first, then, you may seek an explanation from the officer or the officer’s supervisor later.
There are times when citizens who have contact with the police come away with feelings of frustration or dissatisfaction. The McMinnville Police Department does not condone police misconduct of any type. In our experience, we have learned that those negative feelings are often a result in not knowing the reason(s) an officer has made certain requests or acted in a certain manner. Unfortunately, demands on a patrol officer do not always permit time for explanations at the time you are stopped. Hopefully, the information presented here will give you an understanding of police procedures and let you know what to expect from a police officer if you are stopped.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a waiting period before I can report someone missing?
No. You may make a missing person report whenever you realize that someone is missing. Entry into NCIC ( National Crime Information Center) is regulated.
Can I make a report anytime of the day or do I need an appointment?
The police department will respond 24/7 to any requests for police service
Can I make a police report over the phone or does a police officer have to come to my home?
Unless an extreme circumstance exists a report should be made to an officer in person. Cases will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
If someone has abandoned a vehicle on my property or parking lot can the police tow it away?
The police department can only tow cars that have been abandoned on public property. You may call a wrecker service of your choice to tow the car away.
How can I find out if someone is in jail, when someone can be visited, or any other information about inmates?
The McMinnville Police Department does not operate the jail. For information call the Warren County Sheriff's Department at 931.473.7863.
My friend is overdue returning home. How can I find out if they were involved in an accident?
The dispatchers do not have names of persons involved in accidents. The names are not available until reports are turned in. If an injured person is unable to call for themselves, the police will notify their family.
I do not have transportation and I have somewhere to go. Can the police give me a ride?
No. Police officers do not provide rides.
I need to get a message to someone who doesn't have a phone. Can the police department go to the person's house and deliver the message?
The police department can only deliver emergency or death messages.
My family and I are going on Vacation. Can the police keep an eye on our home while we are gone?
You can call 931.668.7000 to have an extra patrol assigned to your home. While the department does not have the manpower to watch 24 hours a day, officers in that zone will be assigned to check your property as their call loads permit.
We have a problem with speeders and other traffic violators in our neighborhood. What can I do about it?
Call the Police Department at 931.473.3808
Can I report a drunk driver from my cell phone?
Yes. Calls to 911 are free. Do not try to stop the offender or place yourself in danger. When you call, you will be asked a description of the car, location, and direction of travel.
Why do the dispatchers ask so many questions when I call?
Dispatchers are trained to try to get as much information as possible to determine the nature of the call and its seriousness.