After serving as interim police chief for Marietta College since July, Jim Weaver now has a permanent position as the Marietta College Police Department's chief of police after being promoted in December.
With ambitious plans and a good working relationship with city police, Weaver said he hopes to use his new leadership position to better improve the department.
When the time came to make a permanent hiring decision, the transition was easy, according to college officials.
"During that time (as interim chief) he was given the opportunity to show what he'd bring as chief, and he showed a lot of professionalism and connection with students and the community, and that's what we wanted," said Tom Perry, executive director for strategic communications and marketing at the college.
Weaver has already made some noticeable changes, and has more planned for the future.
"One of my biggest goals I have is training; to become the most trained department in the state," Weaver said, clarifying that he's counting all police departments, not just university and college ones. "Four of our officers have already received their Master Criminal Investigation and Master Evidence Technician (certifications)."
Receiving certification for Master Criminal Investigation requires 192 hours of training and a Master Evidence Technician certificate requires 200 hours, all typically performed out of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London.
Weaver came to work for the Marietta College Police Department in 2008 right out of the Washington State Community College police academy. He received his associate's degree in criminal justice from WVU-Parkersburg. With his own family and his wife's living in the area, it was important for him to stay in the area. His decision to stay at Marietta College, he said, was not a hard one.
"When I first started at Marietta College, I had just started working and I had no plans on staying. I wanted to move on to Marietta city police," Weaver said. "At some point I had the opportunity to take that, but I turned it down. I love this community. I got into law enforcement to help and make people's lives better, and what better way to do that then with college students"
Weaver and the rest of the department go beyond the usual call for campus police. Officers work in a rotation schedule at campus residence halls, teaching programs on self-defense and getting to know the students. Officers will also do anything from jumping cars to changing tires.
The campus escort system, which transports students safely to and from anywhere on campus, is something Weaver is also passionate about.
"It's such a great service, for say a female at night who needs to get back to her dorm after studying. Marietta is safe, but I still want to make sure she gets there safe," he said. "It's used a lot but I still think it's under-utilized."
Besides strong college community relationships, Weaver cites the important relationship with other local law enforcements as well.
"That's what makes this easier," said Perry. "He's been around. He's interacted with (Washington County) Sheriff (Larry) Mincks, he's interacted with city police. When you bring in someone new, there has to be a trust built up that doesn't happen over night."
Mincks said he expects the strong working relationship with the college police to continue with Weaver at the helm of the department.
"We've had an excellent relationship with the college police in the past, and I know Jim is a great guy and will do well in the position," he said.
Weaver said he always strives to make sure that students see campus police as human beings and people they can come to for even little things, something he said has improved a lot recently.
"We try to go above and beyond to help our kids," he said. "That's really what we're here for."