Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus announced this week Daniel O’ Neil as Auburn’s new police chief and Kendra Comeau as the city’s new attorney.
Both had served in interim roles over recent months, O’ Neil as acting chief of the department after Chief William Pierson’s “separation” from the department on Nov. 21, and Comeau as acting attorney upon the retirement of former city attorney Steve Gross in January.
“We removed the title of interim from Chief Dan O’Neil, and he has become our permanent Chief of Police,” Backus said on Monday.
O’Neil began his law enforcement career in 1999 with Auburn. He spent his first 3½ years working primarily graveyard patrol. In 2003, he became a field training officer, which made him responsible for teaching academy graduates the practical application of state law, city ordinance and department policy and procedures. In 2005, O’Neil became a generalist canine handler, working with two separate dogs over six years.
In July of 2010, O’Neil was promoted to the rank of sergeant. As a sergeant, he was assigned to patrol, property crimes, special investigations and administrative services. O’Neil was promoted to commander in March of 2017.
O’Neil has a master’s degree in public safety executive leadership from St. Cloud State University (Minn.). He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Eastern Washington University and an associate of arts degree from Green River College. He has also completed the International Association Chiefs of Police, Leadership in Police Organizations course and recently graduated from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce South Puget Sound Leadership Institute.
Comeau will lead the legal department, draft, review and approve ordinances, resolutions, contracts and other legal instruments and documents, provide written and oral opinions and legal advice concerning city affairs, administer compliance with various state and local laws and statutes, and represent the city in judicial and administrative proceedings.
Comeau joined the city on Sept. 24, 2018 as an assistant city attorney in the legal department. She was born and raised in Auburn. Before attending college at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she majored in politics and Spanish, she was the track coach for the city’s youth recreation program. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 2011 and has defended private and public employers including a variety of cities, counties and school districts.