UNA officials initiate search for new police chief

The search for a new police chief is underway, officials said.

To kick-start the process, a search committee was named, and the job description was finalized, said Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields.

“I’ve looked at other universities around our size and tried to make sure our job description is contemporary to what other universities around the country do and to what UNA is looking for,” Shields said. “I’ve also made sure there was a broad representation from the campus and community on the search committee.”

The search comes as part of the university’s attempt to fill the position left vacant when former Chief Bob Pastula resigned effective Dec. 31, 2014.

Officials named Mark Parker the interim police chief earlier this semester.

Shields said that was the first step in moving forward with the search.

“The new chief and I met with faculty senate, staff senate and SGA,” Shields said. “Because this position is so vital to the university we had to get someone in there immediately. Chief Parker has been a great asset to the campus.”

Parker said he is “very seriously” considering entering his name into the search, but will not make a final decision until the job requirements are posted.

Shields said he expects to meet with the search committee within the next two weeks to finalize all details and present his expectations.

“I made sure we have a broad representation of the campus — faculty, staff, students and a community representative from the Florence Police Department,” he said.

Officials named Chair of the Geography Department Francis Koti the head of the search committee.

Koti said via email he was asked not to comment on the search process.

“(Shields) also feels that only he can address the media regarding the search not the committee chair,” Koti wrote in an email to The Flor-Ala staff.

Officials also named senior Adam McCollum to serve as one of the two student representatives on the committee.

“I think we really need somebody who can relate to the students,” McCollum said. “That’s going to be one of the things I look for. If people trust you and have a good relationship with you, you can do a better job getting people to talk.”

Freshman Eria Jackson agreed the chief should have a good relationship with the student body, and she also said it is important for the person to be familiar with campus.

“It’s important for the person to be close to students because If I have a problem I don’t need to be hesitant about talking to them because I feel they won’t understand me,” Jackson said.

Freshman J’Lyrick Woods said it is important for the chief to show care for students.

“Chief Pastula used to send out emails to let us know when someone was possible a danger, and he showed us he thought we were important by sending things like safety tips,” Woods said. “That kind of stuff is important to me.”