Story by Alicia Steele, Staff writer
Murray State narrowed its applicants to four finalists for Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, and the first two candidates fielded questions from students, faculty and staff in the last week.
The third candidate will be interviewed Friday, and the final one will come to campus Monday.
Roy Dunaway, who has served as interim chief of police for 21 months, interviewed Thursday and fielded questions about his goals for Murray State’s Public Safety and his opinion of concealed carry on a college campus.
Robert L. Spinks interviewed Monday and answered questions about why he was asked to resign twice in his career and his opinion of Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal as well as concealed carry on a college campus.
The candidates get one hour and 15 minutes to give a presentation about themselves and then answer questions from the audience.
Members of the audience also can fill out a questionnaire to rate the candidate on a scale of zero to five. Zero is no opinion, one is poor and five is exceptional. Candidates are rated based on their background and experience, leadership presence and projected overall “fit” with Murray State, among other things.
The current interim chief of police and director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Roy Dunaway, told the audience Thursday that regardless of whether he is selected, he still considers Murray to be his home.
Before coming to Murray State, Dunaway was an investigator for the State of Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities where he handled cases involving abuse and neglect across 33 central Tennessee counties, according to his resumé.
During his forum, Dunaway said his goals include allowing officers to only work four days per week if possible and embracing technology by providing better equipment, including body armor and field cameras.
Dunaway told the audience he does not support allowing people with concealed carry licenses to bring guns on campus because he fears if an active shooter were to come to campus, miscommunication issues may arise about who the actual shooter was.
During Dunaway’s time at Murray State, the LiveSafe App was implemented, and he has held “Coffee with the Chief” conversations with members of the university community. And as the national spotlight has highlighted sexual assaults on campuses over the last two years, Murray State has seen an increase in the number of sexual assaults reported.
ROBERT L. SPINKS
Spinks, the second candidate, has been the chief of police at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, since 2012 after serving as the chief of police in Sequim, Washington, the director of Public Safety at Bellevue College in Washington, chief of police in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, and other officer positions.
An audience member asked Spinks why he had been asked to resign twice in his career.
“The reality is that police work is generally a compromise,” Spinks said.
Spinks said the only conflict with a city council was when he had a negative history with the Milton-Freewater mayor, but he did not answer why he was asked to resign a second time from the Sequim, Washington, police department.
Spinks was asked to leave by City Manager Steve Burkett after five years as the head of the Sequim force, according to an article from the Peninsula Daily News.
Burkett said Spinks was no longer a good match for Sequim’s needs, according to the article.
Spinks was placed on “non-disciplinary administrative leave” when he resigned from the Milton-Freewater police department at the end of “a bitter dispute with some members of the city council,” according to The Dispatch, a newspaper in Mississippi where he was a candidate in 2011.
During his career, Spinks said he would begin at an agency, fix the major problems and move to the next agency.
“As I would get one done, I would get bored, so I would go find another one,” Spinks said.
Spinks said he is looking to find a job somewhere else because he has lost faith in the Louisiana state legislature.
Paula Amols, director of Dining Services, asked Spinks how he planned to handle the similar situation happening in Kentucky with Bevin’s proposal to cut funding from higher education.
Spinks said he is less concerned about the legislature in Kentucky because Bevin proposed a cut of “only four percent.”
Bevin’s proposal would reduce Murray State’s budget by 4.5 percent by June 30 and another 9 percent next year.
Spinks also said he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to allow the campus community to conceal and carry on campus.
“Do you really trust the person sitting next to you?” Spinks asked.
Spinks asked audience members to look to their right and then look to their left and then asked if they would trust that person to have a concealed gun sitting next to them.
“Do you want an AK-47 sitting in one of the resident halls?” Spinks asked.
Spinks said a majority of Americans can’t handle the skills required to fire a gun in an auditorium full of moving people and said it is not a hard task to get a concealed carry permit Kentucky.
WANT TO ATTEND?
WHERE AND WHEN
The final two public forums for the chief of police and director of Public Safety and Emergency Management will be held at 2:30 p.m. April 8 and April 11. Locations will be sent out the morning of the forums and the applicants will also go through a day-long interview during their time on campus with various constituents, according to an email from Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Jackie Dudley.
Evaluation forms will be available for those who want to provide feedback on the applicants after the public forums. On the morning of the interviews, the candidate’s resume will be sent to the campus community to help inform students, faculty and staff members on each person.
– Staff writer Bailey Bohannan contributed to this story.