Following the May 15 resignation of University Police Department Director Jose Bañales, there is no clear replacement in sight.
The job posting for the director of University Police is currently undergoing an internal review with no date set for when it will be publicly posted. During Bañales’ time as director, UPD has faced white supremacist activity, student protests and subsequent arrests, and bomb threats.
Captain Ricky Lattie was named as the interim director. He and other administrative team members said that Bañales’ resignation was unexpected and took many members of the department and university administration by surprise.
“It was a surprise, we were not expecting it,” Lattie said. “We just had to shift gears as quickly as possible, get everyone back on track and keep fulfilling our duties. We have transitioned chiefs before and have successfully done so, we intend to keep progressing with our projects and keep doing the jobs we have to do.”
Lattie said the last time the department had transitioned chiefs was when former Director Ralph Meyer retired in 2016 after 20 years of service with the department. Lattie served as the interim chief during that period as well.
Director of the Office of Media Relations Jayme Blaschke said the job posting was still under internal review. Blashke said the Office of Student Affairs, headed by Vice President of Student Affairs Joanne Smith, told him the position was under review and it was a process. Joanne Smith was unavailable for comment and was unable to provide specific benchmarks for when a new police chief would be hired.
“Hiring and firing are managed by the human resources department. Every time there is a position to be filled,” Blaschke said. “It undergoes certain reviews at the divisional level and then it is processed by HR.”
Representatives of the Office of Media Relations said they do not have information as to what led to or prompted Bañales’ resignation. The University Star reached out to Bañales for comment, but he declined to comment.
The Star will continue to follow this story and provide details as a timeline for hiring a new police chief is established and details surrounding Bañales’ resignation become available.