UTPD chief candidate from Miami University Police Department confident his experience can benefit UT


Marshall Nolen

John McCandless interviews for the open UTPD chief position Tuesday. Formerly employed at the University of Miami, McCandless sets his sights on Texas to continue his career. 

Amanda O’Donnell

Chief John McCandless of the Miami University Police Department says UTPD Chief of Police Robert Dahlstrom will leave big shoes after retiring this semester, but is confident in his own ability to fill them.

McCandless spoke Tuesday afternoon and is the third of four candidates to come before a public forum as a possible replacement for Chief Dahlstrom. McCandless appeared before a committee of more than 20 students and faculty members from various departments to answer questions and speak about future plans for UTPD. 

In the forum, McCandless said UTPD’s community relations impress him.

“I cannot even imagine a reason a candidate would not want this position,” McCandless said. “The relationship that the University shares with the city of Austin, specifically the police department, is an example of how much effort the city and the University put into working together.” 

McCandless also spoke on the importance of department relationships with University organizations and staff. He said his experience and accomplishments at Miami University have done a lot to prepare him for a position at a bigger university.

“I obviously come from a smaller community,” McCandless said. “But at Miami, we worked diligently to gain resources that bigger surrounding departments did not have.” 

The committee will consider both campus-wide and sector-specific concerns when evaluating candidates and their fit for UT. 

Doug Bolin, artistic director and director of operations for University Events, said one of his department’s concerns is choosing a candidate who can maintain the balance between the safety of events and their adherence to UT tradition. 

“Our office works very closely with all the safety and security offices on campus in programs that are all about a sense of a community and the culture that is unique to this institution,” Bolin said. “There are a lot of traditions, and it’s important that we uphold those while keeping our UT community safe.” 

Luis Quintero, coordinator of Student Emergency Services, said his department relies directly on UTPD for information during investigations to fulfill its duties.

“We as a department need that cooperation,” Quintero said. “Although I would have preferred some of the questions be answered more directly, [McCandless] spoke of a lot of varying experience, and some of the examples of issues he’s had experience with are very common here.”