Wittenberg has been no stranger to change this academic year, and a new change in the Department of Police and Security was not exempt from this. Rob Munson, vice president of finance and administration, announced that James Hutchins would fill the role of Wittenberg Chief of Police. The position was vacated by former Chief Don Lucas during the fall semester, and was filled by Interim Chief of Police Mark Lopez.
Hutchins, who served as a Naval Aircrewman in the United States Navy, has served twenty-four years in law enforcement, with his most recent position being Captain with the Springfield Police Department. With Springfield Police, Hutchins was a part of uniform patrols and was chosen over forty other state, national, and international candidates coming from as far as Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy.
Important factors in the search for a new Chief of Police included a willingness to relocate to Springfield, Ohio, leadership experience, and a level of involvement with the outside community and civic interests. Hutchins was one of three candidates who were invited to campus to meet students, staff, and faculty who evaluated them. Munson was given these evaluations and made the ultimate decision to bring him aboard.
“Jim Hutchins brings 24 years of progressive leadership experience to Wittenberg,” says Debbie DeWitt, chairwoman of the search committee for the Chief of Police. “In addition, he has strong interpersonal skills, is collaborative, relates to Wittenberg’s mission of ‘responsible global citizens’, and recognizes the importance of relationships not only with faculty, staff and students but the greater Springfield community.”
According to DeWitt, Hutchins hopes to spend his first weeks at Wittenberg University getting to know staff and students, as well as the needs and concerns of the campus community in order to move forward with the department.
The search committee is also very confident in Hutchins role to involve students in campus safety. “He spoke at length of his desire to work with students and is eager to engage in conversation to understand their perception of university policing,” says DeWitt.
Hutchins was sworn in as Chief of Police on March 24 at the Great Seal in Recitation Hall.