Search for new UMass police chief likely to last through fall

By Stuart Foster

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Daily Collegian/Robert Rigo

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

The review of applications for the position of the next University of Massachusetts’ chief of police, which began Sept. 2, is expected to last throughout most of the fall semester.

The search for a new chief of police began after John Horvath, who took over as chief in October of 2012, resigned last May to become the head of the Rockport Police Department. The 22-member search committee is chaired by David Vaillancourt, senior associate dean of students, and includes a number of administrators from around the University and UMass police department, as well as Lauren Coakley, associate speaker of the Student Government Association, and Christopher Earls, secretary of university policy for the SGA. Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone will also serve on the committee.

According to the job listing posted by the Spelman & Johnson Group, an employment search firm located in Easthampton hired to assist the search committee, the next UMass police chief is expected to “have excellent communications skills and experience in media relations,” in addition to possessing “an ability to establish and maintain productive relationships with a full and diverse range of campus constituents.” The police chief will also serve as the assistant vice chancellor to Enku Gelaye, the vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life.

The qualifications listed on the website heavily focus on the incoming police chief’s ability to collaborate with the greater UMass community and with law enforcement agencies at different levels. According to a news release, the new chief will be required to have a higher community policing profile and more administrative authority and reporting.

Extensive experience in preparing for emergencies and effectively responding to crises on campus has also been emphasized.

In order to be considered for this position, candidates are required to have a bachelor’s degree, the ability to obtain Massachusetts Police Training Certification and ten years of substantive experience in campus law enforcement.

The UMass chief of police is responsible for the administration, operation, and financial oversight of the UMass Police Department, including a current budget at $6.2 million.

Currently, police outreach and communication are major areas of focus for the UMass Police Department. The posting specifically refers to community policing as an area of focus for the department.

Additionally, on August 24, members of the UMass Police Department participated in a six-hour diversity training program, intended to improve the interactions of UMass police officers “with all people through effective communication and respect,” according to a news release.

The position has a focus on people management, as UMPD has a staff of 76, including 60 uniformed officers. In addition, the department oversees Cadet Corps, composed of some two-dozen local college students, and Residence Hall Security, which employs roughly 300 students.

During the search, Deputy Chief of Police Patrick Archibald will serve as the interim department head. It is the third time Archibald has served in this role. The new chief is expected to begin in early 2016.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster.