UWRF to hire police officers in January
December 4, 2008
Two new police officers will be hired on the UW-River Falls campus in early January following a formal interview process.
Candidates considered for the positions have filled out an application online and have submitted résumés. The UWRF human resources department was responsible for pre-screening and compiling the list of candidates to be interviewed.
A committee was formed to make recommendations for the final candidates that will be hired. The committee is comprised of a UWRF student, staff members and local law enforcement officials.
Sandra Scott-Duex, the director of residence life at UWRF, headed the committee that was formed to conduct the interviews.
“I believe they had to submit a résumé or there was a questionnaire they had to fill out,” she said. “The application process is the application, the initial screening interview and then the final interview with Dick Trende.”
The interviews were scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 with the actual hiring expected to take place in the first days of January. The committee screened each candidate and forwarded the names of the final recommended candidates to Public Safety Director Trende.
The names of the candidates and the specific questions to be used during the interviews have been kept confidential.
Trende said that there was a minimum standard required of applicants and the process was competitive.
“There is a minimum standard established for hiring candidates,” he said. “They had to be licensed as police officers either they were grandfathered by having been a police officer or they just obtained their license.”
Scott-Duex said that it was important for the perspective police officers to have an understanding of what it means to be a police officer on a college campus as opposed to a police department.
“We’re looking for individuals who understand what it means to be a police officer on a university campus, that’s ideal,” she said.
Trende said that he was seeking candidates who would work well on a campus and who exhibited the necessary leadership skills.
“They have to be somebody who can work in a University environment. First and foremost is they have to care about the students, they have to care about the faculty and staff and they have a strong sense of ethic, that’s huge,” he said. “They’re setting an example to the campus community and the educational institution is entitled to have that quality of a candidate where you’re going to have a professional.”
Sgt. Janis Bock of the River Falls Police Department is a member of the interview committee. She said that during the interview process, a panel of six interviewers asked each applicant a series of 19 questions.
Bock said that the UWRF campus will benefit from the formation of an eventual police force and that the faculty and students on campus will receive a higher quality of service as a result and that establishing a police force on campus would enable the University to deal with its own security and safety issues.
“The University will have more of an opportunity to be proactive,” Bock said.
Trende said that a campus police force would make tools and resources available that would help the public safety department, to be renamed University police and parking following the new hires, address the safety issues of the people on campus.
“If there is somebody that maybe is following you or something like that, a security officer can try and protect you, but they don’t have the authority to say ‘stop’ and have that person stay, whereas a police officer does have that authority,” Trende said. “We’re able to act on that ability to provide a safer environment in comparison to what we can currently.”