The Historian's Spotlight - Dan Kinsella

As the National Academy Associates gear up for the 2018 National re-trainer in Quebec City, Canada, let’s get to know the conference chair, Dan Kinsella.

Dan was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario Canada; a Canadian port city on the western end of Lake Ontario. Steel manufacturing was the major employer in the City well into the 1990’s.  Over the past decade or so, steel manufacturing has been declining and the area focus has moved to medicine.  Hamilton has a number of large hospitals which are committed to both patient care, and research. The city is also establishing itself as a growing and vibrant arts community.

Helen Kinsella, Dan’s mother worked in banking her entire work career, and is now retired after forty years of service.  Dan’s father, Bill Kinsella was a city firefighter completing 35 years of service in 1991.

Dan describes himself as a ”life-long learner” who holds a Community College Diploma in Computer Studies, a Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Studies and in 2014 he completed his Masters Degree in Criminal Justice. 

Interest in becoming a police officer started at a very young age, he states, “that was all I thought about while growing up” and credits his father for this desire for public service.  Dan was aware of his dad’s role in helping people on a regular bases and he wanted to do the same. “I saw policing as a career where I could make a positive difference and pursued it.”

His career as a police officer began on June 2, 1986, when he joined the Hamilton Police Department, and continued to progress at a marked rate. Knowing the geography and people provided an added sense of comfort when he entered the force.  It was a very exciting time in his life and he knew very early on that he would never leave what he refers to as “my city.”  Dan spent the first thirteen years of his career as a constable, completing various assignments including patrol, plain clothes, investigations as well as seven years on the tactical and explosive disposal teams.  After his promotion to Sergeant in 1999, he held supervisory positions in the Training and Patrol Branches.  Only three years later, in 2002, another promotion came his way; this time it was to Staff Sergeant, where he worked in patrol as well as the Communications Branch.  In 2005, the rising star was once again promoted. As Inspector, he was assigned a number of Divisional Command positions. In 2011 he was promoted to Superintendent and assigned as the commander in charge of the Investigative Services Division. Another promotion in 2016 brought him the title of Deputy Chief of Operations.

Dan attended the FBI National Academy Session 241 in the spring of 2010. He describes his time at the NA as “a life changing experience” and states that he is “very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend.”  While at the Academy, he added a number of leadership courses to his lengthy academic resume believing that they would be beneficial to his department and enhance his career. He returned home with ideas and lessons that were readily shared with fellow members of the Hamilton Police Service.  Dan also credits The Academy fitness classes to his development of better eating habits which he has shared with family members.

He states that his family is very supportive of his policing career and they have always picked-up the slack during his travels to attend various training courses, including his time at Quantico.  Dan’s wife, two daughters, and parents were in attendance at graduation, after which they were able to extend the visit into a bit of a holiday and toured Washington.

Making new friends in the law enforcement community and developing some very close friendships while attending, are what he values most from his days at the academy.  He states “it is comforting to know that I can reach out to law enforcement professionals across the world and get assistance when required.” International Night and the sharing the experience with classmates showcasing their various countries and states was very enjoyable, and he still maintains contact with a number of session-mates and enjoys their reunions at the National Re-Trainers.

Being Canadian and having the opportunity to attend the NA makes him feel honored.  Knowing how difficult it is to be one the few who get selected to attend, he recommends that if you are interested in attending, you should let your agency head know of your interest, review the application requirements, and do what you can to make it happen. He says “you won’t regret it, it is the experience of a life time.”

Prior to attending the Academy, Dan became involved in the New York State/ Eastern Canada Chapter. His Chief was Chapter President in 2009 when hosting the Chapter re-trainer in Hamilton.  That experience, meeting so many associates, was the point at which he knew he wanted to get involved. Soon after his graduation, he joined the Chapter Executive Board and served as Second Vice President in 2017. He will be the NYS/EC Chapter President in 2018 when they host the 2018 National Conference in Quebec City.

The networking that has come out of his time at the NA has been an extremely valuable resource, enabling him to reach out to classmates for advice on policy and solicit assistance from Quantico regarding homicides and other investigations.  Dan says it is nice to know that you have friends to call upon in time of need and credits his attendance at the NA for giving him access to a large number of law enforcement professionals that can assist his agency and community on a regular basis.