New captain starts job at Niles substation

Published 10:26 am Thursday, February 1, 2007

By By MICHAEL C. GUILMETTE JR. / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Capt. Don Divis is looking forward to working with his fellow police officers in Niles.
Divis accepted the role as the new Berrien County Sheriff's Department captain in charge of the Niles substation on Jan. 15, transferring from the St. Joseph office.
"Niles is a great community," the Watervliet native said Wednesday. "I am impressed with the town."
As the new captain, Divis said he serves an administrative function, handling scheduling and report writing, but he also still drives a patrol car and handles complaints. He will also supervise the Niles Township patrols as well as the Three Oaks and New Buffalo substations.
Divis said he expects the sheriff's patrols will be significantly busier along the U.S. 12 corridor once the Four Winds Casino opens in New Buffalo.
"The casino is going to be a challenge," he said.
He said one crime on the rise in the county – as well as across the nation – is identity theft, adding that area residents are being targeted by criminals from all over the world.
"People need to remember to shred the junk mail they get, and not give out their Social Security number," Divis said. He also recommended that residents should collect their mail from the mailbox as soon as possible.
Divis joined the sheriff's department in 1984 after studying criminal justice at Western Michigan University. Since joining the force, he has worked at the county jail, has been assigned to the narcotics division and has driven traffic patrol. In 1996, he was promoted to sergeant and he also was the 911 supervisor for Berrien County.
Divis became captain in January 1999.
Law enforcement work is part of his family, Divis said. His father was a lieutenant, retiring after 21 years on the job, and his stepson, Rod Kinzler, is an animal control officer for Berrien County. He said he also has a number of other relatives serving as police officers.
Divis lives in Watervliet with his 14-year-old son, Donny. Even though he lives some distance away, he said he looks forward to working in Niles.
"I just like working with people," Divis said, "and the deputies here are top-notch."
He is equally impressed with the city police department as well.
"The Niles Police Department is very professional to work with," Divis said. "I look forward to working with [Chief Richard Huff] and Capt. [Jim] Merriman."