Campus police hire two new officers

Joe Lord

Richard Mackin is stepping through the looking glass this semester. The junior from Belair, Md., will make the transition from Western student to campus police officer.

The new position fulfills a goal for Mackin, a former deputy jailer at Warren County Regional Jail.

“It’s been one of my longtime dreams,” he said. “I was really ecstatic. It’s something I’ve been trying to get for a while.”

Campus police hired two new officers last month, filling all of its positions for the first time since Chief Robert Deane came to Western in 2000.

Mackin has already completed his first week of training at the Department of Criminal Justice Training Center in Richmond. He’ll be in uniform on the Hill in 15 weeks.

Virgil Blanton of Flint, Mich., is also new to the Hill. He started with campus police yesterday, Deane said.

Blanton has worked for the Flint Police Department, University of Michigan Police Department and the campus safety department at Baker College.

Blanton learned of the openings at Western from family in Bowling Green and the Internet, he said.

He said Western is a good fit for him.

“I really like the area, and I read about the programs they have there for students and faculty,” Blanton said. “I was really impressed.”

Deane said Blanton will be “grandfathered” into police officer certification, meaning he will not have to complete the entire process because of his past experience.

He will still have to complete a 48-hour course at the training center in Richmond, said campus police Capt. Eugene Hoofer.

Both new employees will begin as patrol officers.

Deane said Blanton and Mackin were chosen by a committee consisting of a captain, patrol officer, communications personnel, staff member and a sergeant.

“We try to get a combination of input from all levels of the department,” he said.

Blanton will bring experience and maturity to the department. Mackin will bring youth and enthusiasm, said Hoofer, who chaired the selection committee.

Mackin’s familiarity with the campus also helped land him the job, Hoofer said. For Blanton, it was his background.

Blanton has 20 years of experience in police work. His last position with the Flint department, which he retired from last year, was as a member of the bomb squad and as president of the Flint Police Officers Association. Deane said the new officers were subject to several interviews, physicals, a drug screening, psychological tests and background checks before they were hired by campus police.

They were chosen from about 40 applicants, Deane said.

Mackin and Blanton will go through 10 weeks of field training before they begin patrolling the Hill alone, Deane said. They will also be on mandatory probation for one year.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]