McNeil takes over as chief of police
BARBOURSVILLE — Following Barboursville Police Chief Mike Coffey’s retirement after 10 years of service in the position, the village has a new police chief.
Daren McNeil has 33 years of law enforcement service under his belt. He spent Coffey’s final month with him to get to know the workings of the department and the Barboursville community.
McNeil’s starting salary is $65,000, according to the Barboursville newsletter.
McNeil, 56, grew up in Dunbar. He currently lives in Huntington with his wife, Judy McNeil, who works in the Cabell County assessor’s office. Together they have two children: their daughter Ashley, 25, is a registered nurse in Nashville, and their son Travis, 21, is currently serving with the U.S. Army as a combat medic in Kuwait.
“I guess you could say we are a family of service,” McNeil said.
McNeil began his law enforcement career June 27,1986, with the Dunbar Police Department. He said he decided he wanted to work with an agency in a larger town and was hired by the Huntington Police Department in 1988 for a 25-year career.
McNeil served in several capacities during his time with HPD. He began as a patrol officer on a variety of shifts and from there his duties included serving on the mounted patrol unit, traffic unit and the criminal investigations bureau. He ended his career with HPD as a lieutenant serving as the evening shift commander for the patrol bureau in 2012. He received the Huntington Police Department Distinguished Service Award in April 2013 under Police Chief William Holbrook.
Most recently, McNeil worked with a private security firm doing court security for the U.S. Marshals at the federal courthouse in Charleston — the two most notable trials he experienced were former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry.
Now, McNeil said he has not one, but two very large pairs of shoes to fill, as he attempts to invoke the wisdom of both Coffey and his predecessor Alan Meek, who served as the department’s chief from 2000-08.
“I’ve always seen Mike Coffey as a big bother and Alan Meek as a father figure,” McNeil said.
McNeil said his main task at hand, recommended as unfinished business by Coffey, is to take a look at the department’s policies and make sure everything is up-to-date with the times.
“Policing is a science, and with any curriculum, you have to keep up with those changes,” McNeil said.
McNeil said he is excited to get to know the Village of Barboursville and serve as its police chief. During the first few weeks as chief, he has learned exactly what he likes about the city.
“I like that Barboursville is a place where the kids still believe in Jesus and Santa Claus,” McNeil said.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.