Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 6:27 pm | Fair 71º


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Hancock College Board Hires Interim Chief for Police Department

Ronald Schram brings nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience, including time at the Cuesta College Police Department and LA County Sheriff's Department

Ron Schram has been hired to lead the Allan Hancock College Police Department on an interim basis. He is a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant and former interim chief ot Cuesta College. Click to view larger
Ron Schram has been hired to lead the Allan Hancock College Police Department on an interim basis. He is a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant and former interim chief ot Cuesta College. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A veteran law enforcement officer with previous experience at a community college will lead the Allan Hancock College Police Department on an interim basis as the agency's future remains uncertain.

Ronald Schram started his job last week but the Hancock Board of Trustees on Monday officially approved his hiring through Dec. 31, “or earlier per district need.”

College leaders have talked about whether to disband the police department, expand it, or contract with other agency amid concerns about staffing, training and equipment deficiencies.

Schram, 66, replaced former chief Paul Grohowski, who spent less than a year on the job before leaving July 31, with a settlement agreement that included paying him 10 months of salary and an agreement not to sue the college.

Schram worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from 1978 to 2009, reaching the rank of sergeant by the time he retired.

He then joined the San Luis Obispo-based Cuesta College Police Department as a sergeant, and later became interim chief for the agency for approximately 20 months. 

Schram left Cuesta in 2014 and then volunteered at the Santa Maria Police Department. He later worked as a consultant with detectives in the department.

He said he chose to come out of retirement again for the Hancock job since he had the background and unique skill set gained from his law enforcement experience and Cuesta College role.

“I had a wonderful experience there with the police department, students, faculty and staff,” Schram said. “When I heard of this opportunity it didn’t take much.”

He added he enjoyed the role of being on a community college campus.

“It’s very small,” he said. “You’re basically another functioning department making it possible for students, faculty, staff and the community to have a positive experience.”

Schram and his wife of 39 years have four daughters and four grandchildren.

“We are pleased to welcome Ronald Schram to Allan Hancock College,” said Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers. “We are confident that his leadership, experience, energy and passion and will be an asset to the college.”

Hancock police patrol the main campus in Santa Maria along with the Lompoc Valley Center. Classes also are held at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and Vandenberg Air Force Base. 

Like Hancock, Cuesta has a main campus — in San Luis Obispo —  plus a center in Paso Robles along with offerings at Arroyo Grande High School. 

Schram arrives as the Hancock Police Department’s future is in doubt, but he is focused on the present. 

“My vision simply is to come in and assess what if any needs they have, put this on a strong footing and bring to the department the benefit of not only my professional career but my personal life as well,” he said.

He has met with the staff, offering “assurance that we have a way forward and things are going to be just fine,” he said. 

The Cuesta department and Hancock’s are roughly the same size plus supported safety officers, typically students.

The future of the Hancock Police Department remains uncertain since the former chief cited deficiencies in staffing, training and equipment, and suggested that the college contract with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services at both campuses.

A committee, including three veteran law enforcement officers, reviewed future police services on the campus.

Last month, the board voted to enter the collective bargaining process with the California School Employees Association to develop an agreement addressing safety issues, inefficiencies, and concerns regarding campus law enforcement services.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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