UMPD looks to add third lieutenant to police force

Ideally, UMPD would like to have 55 sworn officers by the time the new stadium opens.

Andy Steinke

University police are expected to start the search for another lieutenant by the end of the summer, University police Chief Greg Hestness said.

Typically police departments have three lieutenants, one for each of three divisions: patrol and operations, investigations, and administration.

University police, however, currently only have two, meaning each must do a combination of tasks.

The department has some candidates at sergeant with administrative experience who would make “excellent” lieutenants, University police Deputy Chief Steve Johnson said.

Before the department hires or promotes a new lieutenant, however, it will have to conduct a search to fill the deputy chief position, which Johnson will be leaving at the end of April. The department will begin accepting applications to fill Johnson’s position soon, Hestness said.

His position could be filled by one of the two current lieutenants, in which case University police would be in need of two new lieutenants. University Lt. Troy Buhta said he and Lt. Chuck Miner will be applying for the promotion.

Johnson said the department would likely save time and look for two lieutenants at once if Buhta or Miner is selected.

University police have 45 sworn officers, but only four at the administrative level, above sergeant.

Johnson said having only four administrative officers puts the University at the bottom of the Big Ten. Hestness said the second-lowest school in the conference is Penn State with five officers above lieutenant.

By comparison, the University of Wisconsin has 14 officers above sergeant at its Madison campus.

Johnson said he remembers when he joined the department in 1979. It had at least six lieutenants, three captains, a deputy chief and a chief.

Buhta said he’d like to spend more time with his evening and late-night officers, but can’t right now because of all his day-to-day duties.

Adding a third lieutenant would ease Buhta of some of his duties, especially the number of meetings he has to attend.

It would also mean he could schedule more days with later hours. He said he currently tries to schedule later hours at least once a month.

The department continues to expand

Hestness said he’d like to have 55 sworn officers by the time TCF Bank Stadium opens in 2009.

The lieutenant promotion, as well as two officer hires late last year, will help the department reach that goal.

As the department continues to grow, Hestness said he’d also like to form a community response team to help with investigations and public relations.

“It’s a small group of officers that’s predominantly off the call load,” he said. “They are supposed to respond to crime patterns.”

Johnson said the plan at this point would be for three or four officers to man the team.

The department has been given the funding for that team, Hestness said, but needs the officers to staff it.

The team could also help with evening community responsibilities, like attending student group meetings, Hestness said.