University names Parker interim police chief

Interim Police Chief Mark Parker works at his desk in the UNA Police DepartmentJan. 6. Parker temporarily fills the position left vacant whenBob Pastula resigned Dec. 31.

An interim chief of the University Police Department has been appointed until a search begins to permanently fill the position.

Mark Parker temporarily fills the position left vacant when former Chief Bob Pastula officially resigned Dec. 31.

“I am standing in the role to maintain the integrity and quality that’s already here in the police department,” Parker said. “I’ll do that until a person is selected to take over the (position).”

Parker brings 30 years of experience as a police officer to UNA. He served as the Killen Police Chief for 11 years and has worked two years for UNA.

“What I know of his background and experience, I think he will do fine in the interim position,” said Director of Student Conduct Kim Greenway, who works closely with the police department. “He’s been not only experienced as a former chief of a town, but he’s been working at UNA.”

Parker said he does not anticipate any major departmental changes during his term as chief.

Greenway and Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields praised the current state of the department, saying Pastula’s implementation of various programs makes campus a safer place.

During his tenure, Pastula implemented the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, established the university dispatch center, offered active shooter training for students, faculty and staff, and developed an auxiliary force of 12 to 14 volunteer officers, among other safety measures.

Shields said Pastula’s letter of resignation was accepted “regrettably.”

“We’re sad to lose him,” Shields said. “We are thankful for the tremendous work he has done to make our campus safe.”

Shields said he and Pastula discussed the resignation shortly after the fall 2014 semester ended.

“I have been a police officer for over 35 years,” Pastula said. “I am going to retire and enjoy my grandchildren.”

Shields said he and Pastula have been working closely with Parker to help him prepare for the position.

“We hope to have a new chief appointed by the end of the spring semester at the latest,” he said.

A search committee composed of members from multiple campus constituencies will be appointed, and a national search will begin to fill the position.

Shields said the search will resemble the recent process of hiring President Elect Kenneth Kitts.

The selected pool of candidates will spend time on campus making presentations and meeting with students, faculty, staff and the community, Shields said.

“The process is not to find a chief, but to find the right chief,” he said. “We want the campus to be involved and have the chance to get to know the candidates.”

Parker said he looks forward to working with the students, faculty and staff, as one of his priorities is keeping the community aware of what is happening on campus.