MISSION VIEJO, CA — In the hills of Mission Viejo, one first responder stands head and shoulders above the others. You may see Orange County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Dana Chaneyin uniform, tromping through the brush, pausing to chat with a group of homeless people or working with residents of the city’s sober living homes.
A longstanding deputy of the OCSD, Chaney began her work as the city of Mission Viejo’s only Quality of Life officer last year. As such, Chaney has developed her job description to be the first line of communication between the sheriff’s department and the area’s homeless population.
On Tuesday, Chaney was named the Mission Viejo Deputy of the Year for 2018. She was on hand to accept her award, in front of family and friends.
"I was super excited to get the job, then the next part, I wondered, ‘What am I doing?’" she said during the award presentation Tuesday night. "Talking to homeless people is so different than talking to someone at the supermarket. They aren’t trusting. You show up in a uniform, and they don’t want to talk to you. All I do is try to help them."
According to Chaney, the quality of life job has made a difference to many.
The city of Mission Viejo agreed, giving her the esteemed award of Mission Viejo Police Services Deputy of the Year, 2018.
Lt. Quyen Vuong discussed Chaney and her many accomplishments from the past year in working with Mission Viejo’s homeless population.
"She is an eleven year veteran of the department," he said. "One year ago, she was elected the first quality of life deputy. She monitors sober living facilities, helps neighbors with conflict resolution, and has traveled across southern California to establish the best practices her position."
Because of the work Chaney has done, she has mitigated fire hazards, further helping the city and the fire department, Vuong said. Further, there is the human aspect of her job. Because of her work, "a man named George now has a home after 15 years of homelessness," Vuong said.
She has provided veterans’ services for a man who was living out of his car, and she has helped seniors who were on the verge of becoming homeless.
Chaney is part of the Adopt a Cop program, with area schools, "in addition to her daily duties, and she is also part of the peer support team, the women’s trigger team, and has won several medals," he said. "Dana truly enjoys working for the city of Mission Viejo and making everyone’s quality of life better."
Congratulations, Deputy Chaney, from your friends at Patch Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo Police Services Photo