Radford University Hires New Chief of Police

The new chief of police seems to be hired without the student body or faculty being made aware of the change in this department.

Policeman

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER: Eric Plummer holds his Ph.D. in public safety and has worked at two colleges prior to coming to Radford.

By Montasia Braxton | mbraxton4@radford.edu

For the past month, Radford University’s newly hired Chief of Police has been walking around campus, getting familiar with as much of the students, faculty, and staff as he can. 

Eric Plummer holds his Ph.D. in public safety and has worked at two colleges prior to coming to Radford. He was hired in February 2021 and began the position on March 1st. 

“One of the things about a university is, we’re a large footprint in any community in which we reside,” Plummer said. 

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Plummer said that although issues may arise on or off-campus, it’s important to have an honest and open dialogue with community members. [/epq-quote]

Plummer said that although issues may arise on or off-campus, it’s important to have an honest and open dialogue with community members. 

“It makes people feel that they’re being heard and their issues are being addressed,” Plummer said.

Plummer has a lot of plans for ways to build bridges between law enforcement and the Radford community. Many of Radford’s students wonder why they, faculty and staff included, were not informed of the change in law enforcement management. 

Out of over 20 students randomly selected from around campus, none of them knew that there had been a change in their school’s chief of police. 

Casey Hoag, a junior at Radford, interviewed via Facebook, was only made aware of the change because her boyfriend is a member of RUEMS.

Plummer said that he did meet with the Student Government Association leaders during his interview process and that he was unaware that the school did not send out a broad message of his new hire. Despite the challenge of being a stranger to most students on campus, Plummer is determined to change people’s perception of the police. 

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]Out of over 20 students randomly selected from around campus, none of them knew that there had been a change in their school’s chief of police. [/epq-quote]

“Typically, what I’ve tried to do is have myself and the officers more visible in the community,” Plummer said. 

According to Plummer, things like an adopt-a-cop program, ride alongs, and collaborating with student organizations are all on his agenda, pandemic-permitting. 

“Getting the students more involved in meeting, greeting and knowing the officers, and also, getting the officers to know their community,” Plummer said. 

Many students, but not all, expressed concern once the change was brought to their attention weeks after the new Chief of Police began the position. 

The students’ reactions to the news were not uniform at all. Some students felt that the change was not relevant to them, so they didn’t care. Others thought the change would soon affect them and wished the school had done a better job communicating it. 

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Some students felt that the change was not relevant to them, so they didn’t care.[/epq-quote]

Erica Campos, a sophomore, said that since the department is a part of the community, you would expect students to be informed of significant management changes. 

“I haven’t heard anything good about them in the two years I’ve been here, so I’m not surprised,” Campos added. 

“I want the students to know me,” Plummer said. “Right now, when I walk around, I’m just a person in a suit.” 

According to Plummer, he’s excited for himself and his family to now be a part of the Radford community. 

DeAngelo Nichols, a sophomore, was also unaware of the change.

“Honestly, I don’t think too fondly of Radford police, so regardless it wouldn’t make much of a difference,” Nichols said. 

To Nichols, the officers at the department tend to be overaggressive.  

“A lot of times, they crowd an area, and it’s usually not over a big crime, and it’s just not a good look,” Nichols expressed.

Along with other students, Nichols noticed the department’s presence last semester at the Bigger Picture March. To Nichols, being involved in activities like this and recognizing that minorities do face a real problem is the first step to solving it. 

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]By being interactive, cooperative, and proactive, Plummer plans to partner with the community to make Radford a fun and safe place to live. [/epq-quote]

According to Radford’s new Chief of Police, this is how he plans to move forward. 

By being interactive, cooperative, and proactive, Plummer plans to partner with the community to make Radford a fun and safe place to live. 

Plummer said that he wants his officers seen as resources instead of adversaries. He has high hopes for the amount of change Radford’s students will see within the department in the coming months.

 

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