UOPD Search for New Chief Begins
Finding a permanent solution to the leadership vacancy at the University of Oregon Police Department is finally out of the beta stage.
According to Andre Le Duc, assistant vice president of UO’s Risk Management, search committee members tasked with screening UO’s newest police chief candidates met for the first time on May 9. The committee was formed after the unexpected departure of UOPD’s former Chief Carolyn McDermed in February.
The committee of 13 individuals, comprised of faculty, undergrad and grad students, UOPD staff members, UO administrators and Eugene Police Department Chief Pete Kerns, began the process of finding UO’s next chief of police.
“We are accepting applications up until May 18,” Le Duc said. “At that time, we will have the committee review those applications and then do a ranking process to determine which candidates will advance.”
The candidates will then go through an initial round of Skype interviews as a group of finalists are selected. Those finalists will then come to campus to have interviews with UOPD, several departments that are most affected by campus security and a student panel. They will also give a public presentation.
Le Duc had hoped the search process would be further along at this point. His original plan involved holding public forums on campus during the school year so students would be able to interact with potential candidates. He now believes his early plan might have been too optimistic. Le Duc now sees mid-to-late June as a more likely decision date.
“We are still trying to do this as timely as possible,” Le Duc said. “I had hoped that we would be able to do this before the end of the term, but that really was not realistic with having a four to six week open national search.”
Le Duc stressed that this national search will begin with defining its purpose. His plan for the first meeting on May 9 was to discuss what the UO community values in its police force. He also planned to discuss what community-based policing and campus-based policing look like.
Kelly McIver, communications director and public information officer for the UOPD, explained how the search group will streamline UOPD’s efforts.
“Search committees are common across public and private enterprise, but especially in education,” McIver said in an email. “They allow stakeholders from across the organization to bring their special perspectives to a hiring process and to use the power of many minds to come to a recommendation to the hiring authority.”
According to McIver, the search group will be utilizing a consulting group to broaden the array of qualified applicants who will apply. The consultant group will spread news of the job application via networks of professionals working in the industry of law enforcement.
Le Duc is ultimately tasked with hiring the candidate that best fits the job description, but the use of a search committee is designed to give the institution a wide range of advisers to recognize strengths and weaknesses in the candidates.
“This committee is large, even by university standards,” Le Duc said. “But we wanted to have representation from across the institution, from students and employees, academic as well as administrative areas. We rely heavily on the partners who work closely with university police all the time and value the input representatives from those areas will contribute to the search process.”
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.