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Ex-Top Cop Gets Show-Biz Bug

From top cop to top billing: Retired Napa police chief Dan Monez, 62, now focuses his energy on his acting and singing career. First in a two-part interview with the former chief; in part two, he talks about his law enforcement years.

Former Dan Monez, 62, has a whole new career.

Longtime city resident Monez, who retired in 2004 after more than 30 years in law enforcement and lost a bid for county supervisor in 2010, is now focusing his energy on mastering his acting and singing career.

“I don’t know if I consider myself as charismatic, maybe more like a ham,” Monez said, adding, “But I am very serious about my acting and singing.”

As Napa's top police official, Monez was used to being in the public eye. But an acting career wasn’t something he was looking for — it found him.

“It was kind of a fluke. I was asked if I would be interested in a small role in Mr. Roberts, which was set to open at the  (former) community playhouse in Napa,” he said. “That was in 1990. I thought it might be fun, so I agreed.”

“I fell in love with it."

It didn’t take long for Monez to get bitten by the acting bug.

“I fell in love with it. I love the process of the rehearsals, the development of your character, seeing it all come together,” he said. “I started taking acting classes. It is something I really enjoy doing.”

Monez landed his first major role at Dreamweavers as the lead in The Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. I had to practice a lot for being the ideal husband,” Monez said with a laugh.

Although Monez has not made it to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, he has many impressive roles under his belt.

He has acted in Jesus Christ Superstar in Vallejo, The Fantasticks at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park and appears with the Gibson House Mystery Players performing murder mysteries.

One of his most memorable Dreamweavers roles was as Willy the gun nut in Bruce Graham's darkly comic Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar & Grille, in 2006.

Singing at Wine Train May 17

The former police chief cultivates his talent with acting lessons, and weekly voice lessons as well.

“I like to do show tunes,” Monez said.

“I’ll be performing at cabaret at the on May 17. It’s great fun and free. Appetizers will be served. Guests can purchase wine.”

Monez believes his involvement in the theater was a great stress reliever when he was police chief.

“No doubt, peace officer work can be stressful and take a toll on you. We have high standards to live up to,” he said.

“Playing a character in a production is like being able to escape from whom you really are. The friendships that come out of it are also totally different than the ones you make with your fellow officers.”

A bruising campaign for supe

After retiring from the Napa force, Monez became executive director of , a position he relinquished in order to run for county supervisor.

Monez lost the election in September 2010, following a bruising campaign.

“I was asked by several people (to run)  and got caught up in the enthusiasm — bad idea. I was naive and thought partisan politics didn’t play a role in local non-partisan politics,” he said.

“Boy, was I wrong. I learned a lot about how politics transcends friendships and how local politics in this county can be ugly. I never want to run again for anything.

“I put all that behind me when I made the decision to concentrate on my new venture,” Monez said.

“I enjoyed every minute of my part in community service groups. I just thought it was time to move forward with my new passion.”

In part two, Monez looks back on his law enforcement years, including his stabbing at the hands of a Vallejo youth during cruise night, and tells us about his family.

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