NTCC hires new police chief

By Liliana Torreblanca
Eagle Editor

Northeast Texas Community College recently hired Russell Radke as the college’s new chief of police as a part of the process to establish its own police department. 

The decision to hire Radke was approved by the NTCC college board during its regular February meeting. Radke is the current chief of police at Chapel Hill ISD and is currently working on a part-time services contract with NTCC. He will begin his full-time position at the college in May and will aid in the transition from the college’s current security team to a fully established police department. 

Dr. Kevin Rose, senior vice president for student success said Radke’s experience across different facets of police work positions him perfectly to lead the NTCC Police Department. 

“As we move forward in the development of the new campus Police Department, the police chief search committee was very excited to recommend Mr. Radke for the position,” Rose said. “While he won’t join us full-time on campus until the middle of May, he has already begun the development of the background material necessary to apply to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) for an agency license.”

NTCC President Dr. Ron Clinton said the hiring committee kept the goals of the college in mind while reviewing applications. He said an important consideration was finding someone who was familiar with NTCC’s environment to not change the atmosphere of the open campus. 

“We really feel like we have found the right individual to serve as the chief of police,” Clinton said. Clinton said he is hopeful the campus community will feel more secure and that the police department will add more professionalism to the college.

Clinton said the first step to create the Police Department came about after listening to concerns and recommendations from the college campus community including members of the faculty and staff. A standing safety and security committee was approved by the college board in the last academic school year. The committee’s goal is to support and promote a healthy, safe and secure environment for the entire campus. The committee seeks to ensure that the college’s safety and security policies and practices are current, actionable and effective.

“With the level of concern not just at our campus, but really all over the country because of situations that have occurred, we began to seriously talk about that idea of putting together a police department that would actually be able to respond to certain situations immediately as opposed to relying on our local sheriff’s office and various departments,” Clinton said. 

The main NTCC campus sits on a 400-acre countryside setting. While Clinton said it is a “beautiful place to be,” the campus is “a little bit off the beaten path” when it comes to response time by local law enforcement.

Clinton said members of the safety and security committee researched other police departments on college campuses similar to NTCC to make the best decision. 

Clinton said establishing the new police department will not be an overnight project and will likely take two years before it is fully operational. 

He said the first two years will be a hybrid setup, which will mean hiring a small staff and part-time security at first, before moving to a full-time police department. Clinton said Radke will spearhead that plan, including hiring personnel. He said that NTCC’s current security team members will have an opportunity to apply for positions. 

Clinton said the transition from NTCC’s current security team to the police department will happen over the next few months leading into the fall 2024 semester. 

Clinton said over the summer he, Brandi Cave, vice president for administrative services, and Rose, will serve as part of the transition team. Director of Plant Services Tom Ramler, who currently oversees the security team, will also aid in the day-to-day functions as the implementation happens.

Current budgets including start up costs are currently being examined as well. Start-up costs include one time expenses such as uniforms, vehicles and equipment.  

He said the location of NTCC’s Police Department will likely be the criminal justice building. While the building offers some of the needed infrastructure, Clinton said the police department will require evidence rooms, offices and more, so the current space will need to be looked at and adapted to fit the department’s needs.