University Police swore in two new officers, Ben Vandermay and Monte Wallace, on April 17 in order to fill vacancies following the departure of two officers from the department. Vandermay and Monte were sworn in by Rich Van Del Hul, Western’s vice president for business and financial affairs.
The two new officers were hired to fill vacancies in the department when two officers left University Police for opportunities with the Whatcom Sheriff’s Office and Bellingham Police, according to Paul Cocke, Western’s director of communications and marketing. Keith Williams, assistant chief and assistant director of Western’s Public Safety, said he is looking forward to having two new officers on the force.
“Having these two individuals join our department at this time is very exciting,” Williams said. “With the chances to cultivate and embrace Westerns values and goals, we look forward to great things from both of these new officers.”
Monte served in the U.S. military for 12 years. He spent six years in the Army and six years in the National Guard, completing two tours in Iraq, according to Western Today.
Previously, he worked at the State Department of Licensing as a test proctor, Snohomish Tribal Police officer and is a former King County deputy, according to Western Today.
Monte said his goal is to help strengthen Western’s campus to create a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors, according to Cocke.
Vandermay, born and raised in Whatcom County, graduated from Bellingham High School and attended Whatcom Community College with the intention of pursuing a degree in administration of justice. Vandermay served as a corrections officer with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and will be attending the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission to earn his certification as a patrol officer.
Williams said being part of the University Police is an opportunity for these new officers to connect with a younger demographic and the issues they may be dealing with on campus.
“The best part about being an officer at Western is having an opportunity to engage with the students and be a resource for their success. Working with such dedicated officers each day is a reward itself,” Williams said.