UP holds chief of police search forum

Community voices concerns for search committee

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The University Police Department is gathering input from faculty members for what qualities they would like to see in a new chief of police. 

Roughly 13 faculty members and police officers met with the search committee for a new chief of police Tuesday in the Buffalo Room in Capen Hall. They discussed the personality traits and qualifications they felt necessary for the new hire to have. 

University Police Lieutenants Director Scott Marciszewski, said a university police chief should be someone with experience in law enforcement on college campus. He said he’s afraid potential candidates wouldn’t take the job seriously. 

“This is an extremely busy department and our guys do the best they can,” Marciszewski said. “Our fear is having a retired law enforcement person from another agency come here [to look] for a soft landing. This is not the place for that.”

The national search started on Sept. 19, according to an email from UB Leadership Searches. The committee is looking to replace former Chief of Police Gerald Schoenle Jr., who retired from UB in January after 12 years with UPD. Chris Bartolomei, assistant chief of university police since 2013, has served as acting chief of police since his retirement.

Committee chair Mark Coldren said he hopes to bring candidates to campus and for the community to interact with them before the semester ends. 

Bill Brown, a retired UPD officer, agreed with Marciszewski and said UPD is the “queen” of all police agencies in the SUNY system.

Brown said he would like to see more of UPD’s relationship with the community. He said an increase in the chief of police’s involvement with the university’s faculty would be beneficial.

“A university [police] chief is so different than a chief on the outside,” Brown said. “We have such a diverse population that a chief has to almost be excited. It’s really important that a chief of police in a university setting understands and knows the politics of the university.”

He also said he thinks officers should be in the Student Union trying to get to know students personally, their backgrounds and interests. 

“A community-oriented police force is better than an overbearing one on a college campus. I think that officers should be able to name three [to] five students that are graduating next year,” Brown said. 

Gary Peterson, president of Public Sector Search and Consulting will assist the committee. Peterson worked in law enforcement for 27 years before recruiting and has done 20 police chief searches over the past three years, including university searches.

“We get input from constituent groups, and folks that are here, so that we can develop that position profile…which is the description of the job, what the community needs the individual to do and the job functions,” Peterson said. “When we advertise the position, publications are likely to list a diverse pool of candidates.”

Cian Gonzalez is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com