A 10-year veteran of law enforcement has moved from beat duty into a position with a greater emphasis on administrative and community-centered responsibilities with the Craig Police Department.
Larry Mullen, who began his law enforcement career in Ohio in 1992 and has been with the Craig Police Department since January of 2001, has been promoted to sergeant. He is a member of the Strategic Response Team, and recently completed assignments with the GRAMNET drug task force, along with his regular patrol duties.
The promotion became effective April 1. Mullen has been on the job in this new capacity since April 15, after completing a two-week training course concerning his duties and responsibilities as a patrol sergeant.
The combination of Mullen's experience, education and performance in the assessment process labeled him as "the best choice," said Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta.
"Larry has a master's and a bachelor's degree in religion, and that, combined with his experience, made him very well qualified," Vanatta said. "Based on his maturity and education, he can be an excellent role model and resource for our younger officers, as well as adding a broader perspective in the direction of the department."
Vanatta said choosing between the four candidates for the job was difficult because all of the officers performed well in the testing process. All of the candidates finished within three points of each other, with Mullen holding the top score.
While Mullen will miss the duties of being a patrolman, this is an opportunity he said he felt has come at the right time.
"I reached a point in my career where I wanted to expand my horizons," he said. "I will miss the excitement of some of the work I did before and I'll really miss the putting the pieces of the puzzle together for a case, but now I have the opportunity to do that in an slightly different way."
Mullen will be assigned a group of patrol officers to manage.
"I'm excited about putting together and working with a team," he said. "Making that team, building it, and keeping it sharp and focused I look forward to working in team efforts. That's one of the things I enjoyed about GRAMNET and SRT the team type (of dynamic). I'm hoping the team becomes an absolutely professional one."
Mullen said he knows the promotion comes with a variety of responsibilities, some of which will be extremely serious.
"Facing the weight of the responsibility of some decisions I'll have to make (as a sergeant), that can be sobering," he said. "The courses addressed exactly the things I could face on a regular basis, and the more serious kind of incidents that I may have to deal with only once in my career."
The four candidates for police sergeant went through a written test and an interview with Vanatta and other high-ranking officers, an employee counseling role-play exercise, a community presentation exercise, and faced an assessment panel made up of law enforcement professionals and residents.
"Generally, we develop a list of final candidates from their performances in the testing process, and then it boils down to who best meets the needs of the department at that time," Vanatta said. "After everything, we felt Larry was the best choice.
"It was also good, from a department standpoint, that all four officers were excellent candidates. We were lucky to feel that all the candidates were appropriate for the job. It was a tough choice to select the best one."