WKU’s interim chief sees potential for department

Mitchell Walker, pictured here after being named WKU’s new interim chief of police in August 2016, is now WKU’s new police chief. 

Elisabeth Moore

Mitchell Walker, the previous captain of patrol for the WKU Police Department, recently started his third week as the interim chief of police with the WKUPD.

While the WKUPD searches for a new chief of police, Walker was asked to join this position by Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Kuster.

“Mitch has the respect of the WKU Police and the other local law enforcement agencies,” Kuster said. “He has done a tremendous job in the last couple of weeks planning for the new semester and working with the troops to move the department forward in preparation for a permanent chief.”

As interim, Walker will temporarily serve as chief of police until a suitable replacement is found. The previous chief, Robert Deane, spent 18 years as chief of police at the WKUPD.

Due to an assessment made by the WKUPD, Walker was hired to implement any changes to the department that may be needed before a new chief is hired.

Before the assessment was made, Walker said he knew the WKUPD was capable of great things.

“We’ve always had a lot of potential, a lot of great employees who have a lot of skills to offer and I’ve always thought it is a great place to work,” Walker said.

After the assessment, Walker said he is working on implementing body cams for all of the police officers as well as ways to make the police department more efficient. This would include changing organizational charts and moving staff and personnel around so they can better serve the WKU community.

Walker said he is also looking into forming a WKUPD advisory committee where they can make and implement decisions that would help further the department as a whole.

“It has been very exciting and rewarding being able to work with all of the troops to implement some of the changes,” Walker said. “These few weeks have gone by fast.”

Walker began his career in law enforcement in 1990 in his hometown of Burkesville. Six years later, he joined the Bowling Green Police Department, which he retired from in 2012 before he joined the WKUPD.

Walker said he will remain interim chief while a new police chief is being searched for, which will take approximately four or five months.

Walker said the process of obtaining a new chief will involves a committee that will make recommendations for what the new police chief should be like. As interim, Walker will be unable to apply for the job as police chief, though he plans on staying with the WKUPD in any capacity that he can once the new police chief is found.

Walker also gave advice to students, faculty and staff returning to WKU.

“Report any suspicious behavior or anything that seems to be out of place or out of the norm,” Walker said. “Contact us and let us investigate to see if there are any issues. We want to keep everyone safe, so we would rather respond to find there aren’t any problems over somebody waiting too long to report.”

Reporter Elisabeth Moore can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emoore938.