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story.lead_photo.caption John Merguie

CONWAY -- John Merguie, a veteran police officer at the University of Central Arkansas, has been named the UCA police chief.

Merguie, 50, had been interim chief since February 2017 after the retirement of Larry James, the chief for 23 years.

Merguie, who began his career at UCA in 1991, is the university's longest-serving police officer, the university said Thursday in a news release.

"John has served the UCA community for more than 20 years from patrol officer to chief. He will continue the tradition of excellence and professional standards of the department," UCA President Houston Davis said in the release. "It is an exciting time at UCA, and Chief Merguie is an important part of our future."

The UCA Police Department has 28 police officers, nine communication officers and three civilian employees. The 356-acre campus has about 11,350 students and more than 1,400 full-time employees. UCA enrollment is among the top five largest in Arkansas.

Merguie's current salary is $86,275 annually. His new annual salary will be $95,000.

Merguie, who earned an associate degree in August 2017, has previously served as operations commander and as a lieutenant and a captain of the Commander Patrol Services Division. He also has worked with the Craighead County sheriff's office and the Newport Police Department.

"Since coming to UCA as a patrol officer, I have been a part of the university's growth and the police department's commitment to serving this community," Merguie said in the release. "Now, as the police chief, my goal is that the entire department continues to promote positive relationships across our campus."

UCA Chief of Staff Kelley Erstine said Merguie "is well-respected in the law enforcement community here in Arkansas and throughout the nation."

State Desk on 04/27/2018

Print Headline: UCA names police veteran Merguie as its new chief

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