Search for a new chief

Acts of rape, arson, domestic violence, assault, attempted car theft, burglary and racial harassment have all been reported to the Northern Kentucky University Police since May 2010. Additionally, the university has been preparing for the worst in response to a series of violent acts at colleges across the United States. At NKU, a new person in charge of responding to and preventing crimes on campus, the Chief of Police, is expected to be named shortly.

If all goes as planned, the decision concerning who will be NKU’s next chief will be made by Oct. 4. The previous chief of police, Harold Todd, retired from his position on Aug. 31 after six years of service.

Kenneth Ramey, the vice president for administration and finance, will make the decision after weighing the considerations and comments from students, faculty and staff that took the time to interview with and get to know the top three candidates.

Ramey said he is looking for the candidate that will “take (NKU) to the next level” and who will develop “a community level police force” that is “proactive…rather than reactive.”

The community-level policing that Ramey said he seeks is designed not only respond to emergencies, but to provide preparedness and safety training to students, faculty and staff so they can avoid and deal with danger.

Students that work most directly with the police force, the staff of the residence halls, had a special meeting with each candidate. In addition, Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple, who led the search committee, assembled a team of student leaders to have a lunch with the candidates, and there was also an open session for any student to meet each candidate.

“Our students interact with the police a lot,” Waple said. “It’s very important to have (student) input. This person is going to be on the front line with students.”

“I don’t think anything is more important than the safety (of campus),” Ramey said about the importance of this position to the student body.

Along with maintaining a safe campus, the new chief of police would also ultimately be responsible for deciding in which cases criminal charges would be pressed against students as opposed to only university sanctions — for example in cases like underage drinking.

Ramey said student feedback has shared some of the same concerns and expectations that the university has.

SGA President Kevin Golden said students are looking for a candidate who is approachable and works well with students.

“We are definitely on the same page that the students are on at this point in time,” Ramey said.

All three candidates have experience working in higher education. One candidate, Bobby Wince, currently works for the NKU Police as an assistant director. The other candidates, James Lyon and Jason Willis, worked with external police agencies.

Story by Jesse Call