University Police To Hire Women

For the first time since 1977, University police will have women officers on its 64-member force.

Saul L. Chafin, chief of University police, said yesterday the department will hire four additional officers on June 11, two males and two females, to bring the number of working patrolmen up to the usual 41.

Barbara Blaney and Marie Sullivan '79, the two women recruits, are presently employed by the University police, as a dispatcher and student security guard, respectively. Of the two males, Charles Schwab is currently a dispatcher with the department, and John Butler works on the Orange, Mass., police force.

University police selected the four new recruits from a field of 120 applicants, all of whom went through a three-phase testing and selection process-written, oral and psychological examination. They will replace officers who have either left of been fired from the department over the last two years.

Chafin said yesterday he selected the two women because they "were among the best qualified of the total complement of candidates." Chafin added there is a need for woman-to-woman contact in the University community and that the department will be able to set up s Sensitive Crime Unit to deal with sexually related criminal offenses.


Though Chafin said yesterday the department was not in violation of the affirmative action guidelines set by the federal government, he added, "I don't think we were very progressive."

The department would only have violated the guidelines, if in searching for the four recruits, it had neglected to encourage women or had ignored qualified women candidates. Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, said yesterday.

For the first time in the department's history, the recruits will undergo a 12 rather than four-week training program at an accredited state training facility.

Police reaction to the hiring of women is generally positive. Chafin said yesterday the officers had told him they didn't object to the hiring of women, "as long as they aren't in the same locker room."

The recent hirings come six months after the disputed firing of two police officers. Richard D. O'Connor was fired in December for allegedly breaking into a car at the Everett St. garage. Earlier this month, a Massachusetts Superior Court jury failed to return a verdict, subjecting the case to retrial later this year.

The department also fired a former labor union official, Arthur Vignola, for an alleged indirect threat against an employee of the Kresge dining hall at the School of Public Health, Vignola"s case will go before labor arbitration today.

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