Two NIU Police officers retire

By R. Scott Lohman

Although the University Police will be sorry to see two of their experienced officers retire, they will be glad to get new people on the job.

UP Officer Robert Phifer, who has served with the department for about 24 years, retired on Sunday.

UP Chief James Elliott said he also anticipates the retiring of Lt. Ken Kaiser, who has been with the department for 27 years.

Phifer’s retirement brings the department down to 27 officers. With the retiring of Kaiser, the University Police will need new officers.

Elliott said it is undecided at this time whether someone will move up to Kaiser’s position.

The decision is a “long and arduous process, which might be made sometime in April or May,” he said.

Although the department will be short-handed for a while, it has had fewer police officers than authorized by NIU since the early 1970’s, he said. More officers were needed at that time to take care of riots and problems related to the Vietnam Era.

We could make improvements, but for the most part, we operate effectively with the number of people we have and their abilities,” Elliott said.

Elliott said one position has been filled and another position is in the process of being filled. However, he said the new personnel were hired to fill posts lost in the last year and a half, not to fill the vacancies of retiring officers.

Matthew Kiederlen has been named as one of the employees who eventually will become a police officer at NIU.

The University Police have not yet named the officer who will fill the remaining position. Elliott said he expects another officer to be added to the staff in early February.

Elliott said he made a request to the University Personnel Office for two more officers. There is rumor that a couple more officers could be added, he said.

More officers are needed to perform special duties, including the coverage of athletic events and various events held in the Holmes Student Center. At this time, current officers are picking up the slack with overtime.

UP Officers Beth Hughes and Joy Shuble were added to the staff in July and September respectively, Elliott said. They filled two of the positions left vacant from retirements, he said.

Officers must undergo extensive training before becoming members of the UP.

Kiederlen will have to go through 10 weeks of basic training at the Police Training Institute in Champaign, IL, and complete 400 hours of state mandated training. Following basic training, Kiederlen must take a certification examination.

After several other examinations, Kiederlen will need to complete 10 more weeks of field training with the University Police.

Upon completing the field training, Kiederlen must perform 400 hours of work with a senior officer. The field training officer will attempt to transfer the knowledge learned in basic training to the street, Elliott said.

Supervisors will closely scrutinize the new officer’s work as he begins to function independently, he said.

The entire process, which involves about eight to 10 months of training and tests, produces “well-trained” officers, Elliot said.