After 2 decades of service, Dayton Police chief of staff to retire

A staple in the Dayton community is moving on to new heights after a long career serving the Gem City.

Dayton Police Department Chief of Staff, Maj. Wendy Stiver, is retiring from the Dayton force on March 31, despite her dream of retiring someday on April Fool’s Day. Stiver joined the Dayton department in 1999 and has since built a long resume of accomplishments, both professionally and for the city of Dayton.

Before moving to chief of staff after 17 years as a Dayton police officer, Stiver worked her way up to one of the most high-profile positions in the department, major of the Central Patrol Operations Division, which includes downtown and the Oregon District, her own neighborhood.

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When Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl was first appointed to chief of the Dayton department in 2008, Stiver was a police officer assigned to patrol operations. Biehl saw Stiver promoted to three supervisory ranks since 2008 — sergeant, lieutenant and major.

“Throughout my tenure, I have seen her flourish in her varied assignments and make significant contributions to administrative and operational practices of the Dayton Police Department,” Biehl said. “Her contributions locally and in shaping national policing policy will continue to benefit members of the greater Dayton community as well as police personnel and community members across the nation. Well done Maj. Stiver.”

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On April 6, Stiver will join the Charleston Police Department in South Carolina as its Director of Research & Procedural Justice.

“Perhaps the greatest moment of decision was when Chief Luther Reynolds (Charleston Police Department) called me with pride to tell me that Charleston scored an 80 on the HRC equity rating,” Stiver said. “He was proud because it was the highest score in the state of South Carolina. … He’s committed to moving the the needle to continuously improving the culture.”

Stiver will now help the Charleston department implement the findings of the audit and work on improving some of the systemic racial bias issues that Stiver said most departments in the country are facing.

Throughout Stiver’s career, she has spearheaded efforts to bring a more inclusive culture to the Dayton department and has developed policies, with the support of Biehl, that better protect the rights of marginalized populations like the LGBTQ community.

Now Stiver will take her talents to develop similar policies for departments at a national level.

As a major port where slaves were brought to the United States, Stiver said Charleston is a really important place to do this work.

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“You just have a lot of deeply entrenched historical issues there that it’s a really important place to make sure we’re trying to keep the community safe, while we’re also not harming people in the process,” Stiver said.

As ready as Stiver is to embark on the next endeavor, leaving will be hard, she said.

“I’m incredibly proud of the officers and the organization in Dayton and it’s a bittersweet experience to leave and move on,” Stiver said. “But this is the right time.”

Stiver commended her Dayton colleagues and said there are many things she is proud of them for, but gave special praises to Sgt. Chad Knight.

“He understood why it was important for the officers to be there in the Oregon District when they were there,” Stiver said. “Chad deserves a boatload of credit for his leadership and everything he did just to basically prevent that from being a more dangerous event than it was. I am so proud of him and all those guys.”

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