Joining the ranks of the Murray State Police are four new officers, hired at the beginning of January to fill recent vacancies in the force.
The officers hired include two new captains- Bob Bringhurst, a 30-year veteran of the Louisville Police Department and Roy Dunaway, retired from the Nashville Davidson County Metropolitan Police Department- and two new patrol officers- James Mayes, retired from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department in Memphis, Tenn., and Steve Robinson, retired from the Murray Police Department.
These new hires bring the Murray State Police force to 15 sworn officers.
David DeVoss, Murray State chief of Police said the new officers were replacing two officers who retired and two who transferred to serve in different towns.
“There is always someone leaving and we’re quite often in the position to replace officers,” DeVoss said. “The University has authorized us to have 16 positions, so if someone resigns or retire then we fill that position as soon as we can.”
DeVoss said officers stay at the Murray State Police and transfer so often due in part to the nationally accredited training officers receive in Kentucky which gives officers so much freedom to pick where they want to work in the country.
“One reason we see such fluidity and movement is that all officers in the state are certified,” he said. “Officers can all transfer anywhere in the state and because our academy is nationally accredited our officers are accepted almost anywhere in the country in a snap. There’s no problem transferring to another state.”
The Murray State Police attend the same law enforcement training academy and receive the same Department of Criminal Justice training as both the Murray City Police Department.
University officers work for the mayor and the city council, the Murray State Police work for the Board of Regents and the University’s president.
The Murray State Police provide a number of unique services to the University community including issuing citations and arrest warrants to students and providing security for the many events put on at Murray State.
The Murray State Police are also often called upon to help the city police, as the organizations’ jurisdiction is shared. An increase to the University’s force means more officers and resources that can be lent to the city as well.
“The University police have county-wide jurisdiction,” DeVoss said. “We can go anywhere in Calloway County and have police authority and so we back the city and county up quite a bit. We can take on any role that’s necessary.”
Before being hired to the University’s police force officers must go through a stringent background examination, after which DeVoss decides if he will make his official recommendation to the University on whom to hire.
“Our investigators do an extensive check on every person we hire to be a police officer,” DeVoss said. “We investigate their background, their work, they have to submit to a drug screen, both psychological and suitability screens and a polygraph examination.”
He said their entire background history is checked before they are hired.
With the staff now at 15, there is still one more vacancy to fill. DeVoss said they are in the process of reviewing applications for the position of investigator and it will take one to two months before they pick a suitable candidate.
“My focus is not trying to fill that last position, it’s training those guys that have transferred in,” Devoss said. “Being a man short is not a critical issue with me. The most important priority for me is having these four guys who have come from Louisville, Nashville, Memphis and Murray to get them acclimated to Murray State University policing.”
Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.