Two new officers get ready to enter U police ranks

Police department heads picked the two from a pool of 125 applicants after a lengthy process.

Elizabeth Cook

As the semester dwindles to an end, two new officers will start working at the University Police Department.

Arnulfo Curiel, 36, and Luke Huck, 22, will be sworn in Wednesday.

Neither were University students, but they still have reasons for wanting to be part of the community.

Curiel said he wanted to work here because the people are always changing, unlike other communities where it’s the same people living in the town year to year.

“It’s a unique situation because the diversity in the people is always changing,” he said.

Curiel said he thinks the constant change and diversity will keep the job interesting.

Before working for the University, Curiel was a reserve for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department as part of the search and rescue diving team.

Becoming an officer is a step up from that, and something he’s always wanted to do, he said.

Huck wanted to work at the University’s police department because of its reputation, he said.

Huck said he has heard great things about the department and thinks that to be the best, a person needs to work with the best.

Curiel and Huck spoke of similar philosophies about being officers.

Curiel said he wants to be out in the community, not just driving around in a squad car.

He wants people to recognize him and know who he is, he said. Huck agreed.

The pair went through an extensive application process, they said.

The entire process lasted from May until now, Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for the University, said.

When the process started, there were 125 applicants. After screening those applications, about 20 percent were picked out, Johnson said.

That 20 percent was then interviewed a second time, and then the department made its top picks.

Those top picks then had an additional interview and background checks. Curiel and Huck were picked as possible hires.

Johnson said that before they could do the more “invasive” work, like the psychological and physical exams, a job offer is made with the assumption they will pass everything.

With these two hires, the police department now has 43 officers and the hiring process is going to start again.

They are funded to hire two more officers, bringing the department to 45 officers, Johnson said.

Johnson said diversity is important in the hiring process, but isn’t the first or the only thing they look for.

“We’re looking to recruit the best candidates we can, and hopefully those candidates are diverse,” Johnson said.

Greg Hestness, the chief for University police, said they are all really pleased to have this opportunity to hire more officers.

Hestness said both the new officers will work well with the University community.

“These two fellows seem like a real good fit for the campus,” he said.