By Landon James
UMW officials are considering three finalists for a new administrative position that will oversee the university police department and coordinate security on the Fredericksburg and Stafford campuses, as well as the Dalhgren property. They anticipate offering the job to one of the finalists some time in the next couple of weeks.
The new executive director of university police and security services will provide direct supervision over campus police Chief James Snipes, and will in turn report to Susan Knick, assistant vice president for public safety and community services.
“I have been asking for this position since I took over,” Knick said. “I saw a need for one individual that would have an overarching responsibility of University campuses and properties.” Snipes did not respond to requests for comment.
Knick said the opportunity to create the new position occurred when Lt. Dave Cooper left the university police in May 2008.
The school took the funding that originally went toward Cooper’s position and applied it to the new executive director hire.
Knick said the University will not be hiring a new lieutenant.
“We made the decision to reorganize and absorb that vacancy into the new executive director of police and security services position. The job description and related materials was drafted over the summer and we opened the recruitment on August 26, 2008,” Knick said in an email.
There are currently four police sergeants and five police officers at the Fredericksburg campus in addition to Snipes. The school is also hiring two additional officers to beef up campus patrols.
Executive Vice President Richard Hurley said he feels that the new position will increase the professionalism of the campus police department.
“We want to reorganize to use the staff in a different way,” he said.
The interviewing process for the job began Tuesday, Nov. 11 and has since been narrowed down from 32 applicants to three. Information on the final candidates is not available to the public.
Knick said the target starting date for the new position is Dec. 1, but realistically the position will not be fully active until January 2009.
The new position is a classified position which means the pay range is between $40,959 and $84,062; however, the University has restricted the funding to not exceed $65,000 according to Knick.
“With the University’s growth and the expressed concerns of the student body, security needs and challenges have expanded,” Knick said. “To best meet the security needs of our community we recognize that a full time senior law enforcement position is needed for the efficient and comprehensive oversight of the expanded needs throughout the University.”
According to Knick, UMW will be the only Virginia state school that currently has this position on their police force.
“In my opinion, this places UMW on the forefront of public safety development at the planning and policy level and speaks highly of UMW’s commitment to providing the best possible security available within our resources,” she said.