Joining the Robinson Township Police Department in 1980, Chief Dale Vietmeier assumed his position at the head of the agency in 1994. Living in the Allegheny County township his entire life, he grew up befriending many of the officers, which sparked his interest in becoming an officer. When he lost his sister in a traffic accident at the end of high school, he decided that he wanted to pursue a career as a police officer.
Metro Alert: What are some of the challenges of running a police department?
Chief Dale Vietmeier: Trying to be consistent across the board to everyone is the biggest challenge of running a police department; as well as being able to understand all of the issues. It is also challenging to ensure that we are there whenever the community needs us to be.
Metro Alert: How have you overcome the challenges?
Chief Dale Vietmeier: The best way for us to understand the issues and be there when the community needs us is to be actively involved in the community we serve. We offer several programs and are available for speaking engagements for whatever groups need us. And, we make a concerted effort to provide adequate police protection for everyone. We are a very active community with a lot of commercialism, which is unique, making us busy during the day when our population and traffic increase.
Metro Alert: How has technology played a role in helping you to serve your community?
Chief Dale Vietmeier: It has made our processes much simpler. We have a beautiful database (Metro’s Visual Alert) that we can go into and quickly find our calls. We can go back to 1996 when we purchased the Visual Alert system to access data. Any search for data prior to 1996 we must do by hand, which takes time. The accessibility to data and streamlined processes improve our ability to serve.
Metro Alert: How has being a police officer changed since you began?
Chief Dale Vietmeier: The job has become much more stressful with the increased dangers in today’s society. There is also an increased fear for our officers of lawsuits, which was pretty much unheard of in the past and can present hurdles when doing our job. Respect came back to law enforcement after 9-11, but it was short lived. There is little respect for authority today. The attitudes of the younger generation are much different and we must enact different policies to address this generation, which can be extremely frustrating.
Metro Alert: What do you like most about your job?
Chief Dale Vietmeier: I enjoy being in the position to make the final decision for our community. I like dealing with the varying issues that may arise from a resident or a business and problem solve to address the issues. The camaraderie of the chiefs throughout the state is also a highpoint of the job. We all face unique challenges as every department is different and sharing our stories and learning from each other is extremely valuable.
Metro Alert: What do you do in your spare time?
Chief Dale Vietmeier: I enjoy spending time with my wife of 28 years, Nancy and my 25 year-old son, David and 23-year-old daughter, Bethany. I am an avid golfer and love to hunt, both archery and rifle. In my spare time I also dabble in residential real estate.