POCAHONTAS — Black River Technical College Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Baine and Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Smith recently assisted the Pocahontas Police Department in two promotion panels to help the department evaluate and examine law enforcement officers in line for promotions.

Pocahontas Chief David Edington said the promotion panels are a new approach for the department’s promotions.

“Instead of leaving the decision up to one individual, we decided to produce a panel of community members to form interview questions and interact with the officers,” Edington said. “As law enforcement officers we tend to only look at things from a law enforcement perspective, and bringing in other community members helped to broaden the scope of the interview.”

Baine said the panel consisted of community members of diverse backgrounds including former and current law enforcement, professionals, media representatives, educators and community volunteers.

The committee he was involved in was responsible for developing interview questions, reviewing the submitted portfolios from the Pocahontas police officers and conducting interviews.

Baine said the purpose was to produce recommendations for law enforcement officers to receive a promotion in rank. There was a systematic process used to help the committee make their recommendations and all recommendations were submitted to Edington.

Edington said the department brought in professionals from the college, but also members of the community “from different walks of life,” who would be more objective and form questions as citizens, instead of officers.

In the end, Edington said the promotion panel worked well ending with him agreeing with the recommendations of both panels and promoting the officers under consideration.

“I greatly appreciate the cooperation with the college, this was a win-win situation,” Edington added.

“A great part of working at BRTC is that our community is very important to us. The college encourages any employee who is interested in helping locally to do so and our employees love to give back,” Vice President of Institutional Advancement at BRTC Karen Liebhaber said. “I think Jason and Brad’s service to the Pocahontas Police Department is an excellent example of the kinds of things we want to do to help our friends locally.”