Campus police trying to fill two vacancies

Joe Lord

Campus police are searching for two new officers, but it could take months before any new recruits are patrolling the Hill.

Filling the two vacancies would eliminate all open positions in the department, Chief Robert Deane said. The department now has a 21-officer force.

Capt. Eugene Hoofer said a four-member committee has received about 30 applications for the two openings and has narrowed the prospects to 14.

“It’s probably going to be a month or a month and a half before we start making selections,” Deane said.

He said applicants go through a series of background checks, screenings and tests before being hired.

Hoofer said the committee will make recommendations to Deane based on evaluations and results from a test compiled by the committee, which includes Hoofer, two sergeants and a dispatcher.

The two open positions in the department became available during the summer when Sgt. Terry Scott and officer Jared Rickard left for different jobs.

Scott became a state arson investigator and Rickard found employment in the private sector.

Hoofer said the two new officers, if untrained, will be sent to the Department of Criminal Justice Training Center in Richmond for a 16-week program. They’ll return to Western for 11 weeks of field training.

Deane said new officers are paid $21,420 a year, plus $3,100 from the state for maintaining their officer certification.

Gene Tice, vice president of Student Affairs and Campus Services, said it isn’t unusual for campus police to have vacancies at the beginning of the semester.

“I think my first year we had five or six vacancies,” he said.

Deane said it can sometimes take a year before a vacancy is filled, provided the new hire doesn’t fail during training.

“Then we’d have to start all over again,” he said. “But I’d rather do that than make a bad selection.”

Hoofer said the vacancies won’t affect safety on campus.

“We’re still able to perform our job, but it does stretch us a little bit,” he said.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]