New Police Captain

From left: Capt. Norman Mann and Capt. John Wheeler.

Capt. John Wheeler, who headed the St. Louis County Police Department’s Fenton 5th Precinct for the past three years, was reassigned to captain of the department’s Central County 2nd Precinct as of Dec. 31.

Fenton’s new police commander is Capt. Norman Mann, who previously headed the county police department’s bureau of staff services.

“I look forward to working with all community stakeholders to continue the tradition of making Fenton a safe place to live, work and play,” said Mann. “While we always strive to do better, I strongly believe the previous leaders of the Fenton Precinct have laid a solid foundation for me to carry out our law enforcement mission.”

Mann was promoted to a St. Louis County Police Department captain in 2014. He’s worked with the department since May 2001, serving in the North County and Central County precincts, Personnel Services Unit, Bureau of Professional Standards, Chief’s Office, and Domestic Violence Unit. He received his master’s degree in legal studies from Webster University and his bachelor’s degree in criminology from University of Missouri-St. Louis. He also completed coursework in law enforcement leadership and organizational change at St. Louis University.

As a proponent of neighborhood policing, Mann began new community outreach in North County through having basketball contests with students in the Hazelwood School District. He also participated in baseball-related community activities while establishing the St. Louis County Police Athletic League (PAL) in 2015, and serving on its executive board. He said the PAL program currently serves nearly 1,000 young boys and girls, while building positive relationships between community members and law enforcement officers.

Fenton’s new captain received at least 14 awards, commendations, and letters of appreciation associated with his police work.

“My eyes and ears are always open to learn and grow to better serve the citizens of St. Louis County,” added Mann.

Wheeler said he “thoroughly appreciated the strong support for police that Fenton’s government officials and citizens gave.”

“Along with motivated officers, I’m happy to have been part of reducing crime in Fenton, especially by applying new strategies and extra attention in the city’s neighborhoods and shopping area.”

Wheeler joined the county police department in 1999. In addition to commanding the Fenton Precinct, he served in the North County, West County and Affton Southwest Precincts, as well as the Bureau of Crimes Against Persons, Tactical Operations Unit, Metro Link Unit, and Bureau of Drug Enforcement.

He received his bachelor’s degree in communications from Southwest Missouri State University. At the time Wheeler was promoted to captain, he had received 27 awards, commendations, and letters of appreciation.

While commanding within the city of Parks, he brought back a well-received, full-time park officer program that enabled Fenton’s parks to be patrolled by foot and bike.

Wheeler’s jurisdiction for the Central County Precinct spans Kirkwood, Glendale, Webster Groves, Rock Hill, Des Peres, Richmond Heights, Frontenac, Ladue, Clayton, Creve Coeur, University City, Olivette, Pagedale, Overland, St. John, St. Ann, Maryland Heights, Ferguson and Bridgeton.

The previous Central County commander was Capt. Mark Cox, who transferred to another precinct.

Fenton Seeks New Parks Director

Darren Dunkle, Fenton’s former parks and recreation director, left the city’s employment in December. He had joined the Fenton staff on Oct. 8. Prior to Dunkle’s employment, the parks and recreation director position was vacant since May.

This director’s responsibilities span management duties that cover park/facility planning, financial oversight, program planning, contract negotiations and special projects, as well as property selection and acquisition.