Western adds two officers

Kandace Sebastian

After a year of staff shake-ups, campus police are bulking up their force again.

Last year, the department staffed 24 officers. However, four officers left. One retired, another left for personal reasons and two failed to complete training.

Since then, two officers have been hired and are completing the necessary training to start work.

“We are going to go ahead and select two more and increase our man power,” Wallace said about the decision to hire two new officers.

David Skinner was hired March 17 and is expected to begin field training. Mike Miciotto was hired on Aug. 11 is completing his 16-week training course.

Capt. Mike Wallace said a third new officer may be hired when there is a vacancy in the police academy to train them.

Maj. Jerry Phelps, police investigator commander, said campus police could always use more help because they have more areas that need patrolling.

“To keep things going, we would like to have on each shift two to three, plus a dispatcher,” Phelps said.

Sometimes during the year the campus police could have as many as six officers on a shift, Phelps said.

Wallace said that though two officers have been hired, it may take a while before they arrive on the Hill. All officers who are selected as campus police must go through several steps to begin patrolling at Western.

These steps include completing a police evaluation, background checks and appearing before a selection committee. If chosen, they will continue through the police academy, basic training and a closely watched probation period.

Once they officially begin work on the Hill, they can expect to make $21, 852.

“It’s a process from start to finish,” Wallace said. “It can take close to a year for an available officer.”

Gene Tice, vice president for student affairs and campus services, said one of the two officers in the training program was able to be hired because the budget council approved funds to train the officer.

“We’re not fully staffed, but we are just about where we should be on the force,” Tice said.

Wallace said that although they’ve lost a few officers, there are still sufficient numbers to keep campus safe.

“We have functioned with few officers, but we like to stay as fully staffed as possible,” he said.

Reach Kandace Sebastian at [email protected]