Donald L. Shinnamon, Sr. currently serves as a consultant specializing in public safety applications for unmanned aircraft technology. Before transitioning to the private sector, Chief Shinnamon had a distinguished thirty-five year career in public safety, beginning with the Baltimore County, Maryland, Police Department. During his service there, he attained the rank of Colonel and held the position of Chief of Operations, second in command of the agency. The large, urban county has over 800,000 residents, covers 612 square miles, and has over 1,900 sworn officers.
As Chief of Operations, he was responsible for all police operations, including patrol, investigations, support services, youth programs, etc. His accomplishments include development of a community policing master plan and implementation of a reorganization plan that decentralized resources to the precinct commands to better serve local communities. As a Major, he developed an award winning Critical Incident Support Team that addressed the emotional needs of victims of traumatic incidents, including citizens and emergency service personnel and was a contributing author to Use of Force by Law Enforcement Personnel: Problems and Solutions, published by the FBI.
In 1997, Shinnamon’s career then took him to Gainesville, Florida where he was selected as their Chief of Police. Gainesville, home to the University of Florida, is a diverse community of 110,000 located in north central Florida. The police department employs over 400 people.
While serving there, the agency achieved accredited status from CALEA; aggressively fought a spiraling crime problem by initiating a zero tolerance crime initiative and implementing “hot spot” policing. Subsequent to these initiatives, violent crime decreased 10 percent, including a 25 percent drop in robberies. Further, by utilizing new strategies, several large events with a history of civil unrest were handled without incident. Community partnerships were strengthened by directly sponsoring, or supporting over 40 community programs, creating a police and private security council and expanding citizens on patrol.
After Gainesville, Chief Shinnamon managed community policing programs for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He also assisted with management studies of law enforcement agencies that contracted with the IACP for that service.
In 2001, Shinnamon was selected by the City of Holly Hill, Florida, one of six cities that make up the Daytona Beach area, to be their Director of Public Safety. The Director of Public Safety served as the chief of police, chief fire administrator and emergency management coordinator. Organizational accomplishments during his tenure include: achieving accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFLEA) and International Recognition from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA); developing and implementing a three year expansion plan for the fire department; preparing for and responding to multiple hurricanes that struck the area in 2004 that resulted in the city being designated by the Presidential as a disaster area three times in two months. Shinnamon expanded his credentials to include certification as a firefighter and as a Florida professional emergency manager. He was elected president of the county fire chiefs association in 2004 and graduated from the University of Maryland, National Fire Service Staff and Command School in 2005.
The final stop in Shinnamon’s public safety career was in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he again served as Chief of Police. Port St. Lucie is one of the largest cities in Florida, covering 115 square miles with a population of 160,000 residents. Once the fastest growing city in the United States, it became one of the most severely impacted by the economic recession in 2009. During the worst two fiscal years in city history, he reduced the police department budget by $10 million dollars and 86 positions (25% of total authorized personnel) with minimal impact on service. Working in close collaboration with employee bargaining units, overtime costs were reduced by over $1 million per year, without a single grievance. At the same time, after reported crime increased each of the five prior years, crime dropped in both 2009 (8.8%) and 2010 (11.4%) due, in part, to keeping all personnel focused on crime and not the economic crisis.
After leaving public safety, Shinnamon, who holds a commercial pilot certificate, began a second career at Boeing’s unmanned aircraft company Insitu where he served as a business development executive, a position he held for five years. Shinnamon now provides similar services to other companies in this new industry.
Shinnamon is a life member of the IACP and served as the chair of the Aviation Committee for over 15 years. In 2008, he was selected to serve on the Federal Aviation Administration’s first rule making committee that drafted regulatory language to integrate small unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system. He is also the author of IACP’s Guidelines for the Use of Unmanned Aircraft by Law Enforcement that addressed the contentious privacy issue.
Chief Shinnamon holds a Master’s Degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore and completed a fellowship at Harvard University.