WKU Chief of Police decision is imminent

Cameron Coyle

The search for a full-time Chief of Police at WKU is coming to a close, with three finalists announced for consideration.

Current Interim Chief of Police Mitch Walker is one candidate for the position. Walker assumed the role last August after Chief Robert Deane resigned. Walker was previously a patrol captain for a year before being named interim chief.

He also has experience as a criminal investigation division detective, crisis negotiator, police training officer, firearms instructor and patrol officer, according to his resume. Walker also served on the Bowling Green/Warren County Drug Task Force for three years.

Jim Hyde, former Assistant Chief of Police for Bowling Green, is also a candidate. Hyde started his career at the Eastern Kentucky University Police Department as a patrol officer in 1990. Since then, he has performed the duties of an undercover narcotics officer, executive director, patrol sergeant and captain/shift commander in multiple cities.

According to Hyde’s resume, he graduated from the F.B.I. National Academy in 2011, from the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s School of Strategic Leadership in 2008, from the Criminal Justice Executive Development Course in 2007 and from the Academy of Police Supervision in 2003.

The final candidate for the position is Tom Saccenti, Chief of Police at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Saccenti is also a recipient of the Medal of Valor, the Medal of Merit and the Medal of Courage. Saccenti is also the president of the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators.

He recently served as the Chief of Police for the Marietta College Police Department in Ohio and as the Director of Campus Safety at Trine University in Indiana. During his time at Furman University, Saccenti established new recruitment methods that have raised minority employment from 14 to 45 percent, according to his resume.

All three candidates were on campus during August for meetings, forums and interviews.

According to Lynne Holland, chief diversity officer, and members of the selection board, they expect to bring the deliberations to an end prior to Labor Day weekend.

In an email, Holland wrote, “We were seeking individuals steeped in community-oriented policing strategies appropriate for a college campus who would also be both visionary and tactical in providing leadership to a university police department.”

Reporter Cameron Coyle can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].