Every spring ushers in new beginnings, and this spring both Wittenberg and Jim Hutchins start anew.
This week, Wittenberg officially announced to the public that Jim Hutchins was chosen as the new Wittenberg University Chief of Police. Hutchins, who retired after 24 years with the Springfield Police Department, began his new position on March 24.
A Springfield native, Hutchins grew up near Wittenberg and remembered riding his bike on campus when he was younger. “I love this campus; it’s beautiful,” he said. “I can’t wait to be out on a spring or fall day with my camera taking pictures.”
Hutchins spent 4 years in the United States Navy, then began his career with the Springfield Police Department, where he was most recently a Captain and Sub-Division Commander of Uniformed Patrol. As the Chief of Police, Hutchins hopes to create a relationship with the campus community.
“They will know who I am and will know that they can come talk to me,” Hutchins said. “It’s imperative for me to address your issues, but for me to address them, I need to know them, but you also need to understand my limitations.”
Hutchins also hopes to increase transparency in the department, as well as promoting student education about safety and security. “My goal is to be in your environment so that you can see I’m here to protect you and solve problems. Safety needs to be addressed on the first day of college, the tenth day, and the hundredth day.”
He hopes to become a part of New Student Days, as well as become integrated throughout a student’s career at Wittenberg.
Security of students and their homes will take priority to Hutchins over the first few months of his career with Wittenberg. He remembered a student who once told him that people who did not live in the campus community loitered on campus and made students uncomfortable.
“I realized that this is your home; this is where you live,” said Hutchins. “You should never be uncomfortable in your home. That’s my burden.”
He also hopes to continue with the policy that Wittenberg Police have carried on through previous chiefs of police. “We’re not looking to write every citation we possibly can. If there’s something that’s thrown in our face, we’ll deal with it, but we’re here to be preventative and to protect students, staff, and people that live around campus.”
Social media presence is something that Hutchins hopes to increase. He takes a particular interest in an idea that was brought up in a safety forum earlier this semester, in which students could anonymously text in tips to the police and security office.
Hutchins also commented on WittFest, which will be his first major event on campus. “I want to try to keep issues down and make sure your homes are protected while you’re gone. Just because WittFest is in the middle of campus doesn’t mean we lose our responsibilities.”
He also believes that his first week was a great introduction to the Wittenberg community. “I’ve go to admit, the people here are really friendly,” Hutchins remarked. “Faculty, staff, students. Everyone’s just very welcoming. It’s just a good feeling and feels like a good place to be.”