Smith, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke get new police chief

Last modified: Tuesday, July 02, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — Ralph J. “Buddy” Gould Jr., director of public safety at Holyoke Community College since 2006, has been named chief of police for Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges.

Gould, 48, of Hadley, begins June 24. He replaces Robert Smith, who left the post last year. Raymond LaBarre has been serving as interim chief of police for the three colleges.

“I am delighted that Buddy will be our next chief of campus police,” Ben Hammond, vice-president for finance and administration at Mount Holyoke College, said in a statement. “His leadership of public safety and police on the campus of HCC exemplifies his commitment to community policing, support of the mission of the institution, and dedication to the safety and security of faculty, staff and students.”

Gould grew up in Amherst and has worked in law enforcement for nearly 30 years, beginning with a two-year stint as a community service officer in that town. He later served as a part-time police officer in Belchertown, campus police officer at Amherst College, and officer and sergeant for the Hadley Police Department from 1985 to 2006.

Gould said he was honored to accept the position.

“The opportunity to serve these campuses that are so rich in history, culture and diversity is the pinnacle of my professional career,” Gould said. “From everyone I’ve met and spoken with, I can see the campus police are held in high regard, and I will strive to continue and, where possible, enhance that image and level of service.”

In a phone interview, Gould said there are a lot of similarities between policing at higher education institutions and municipal law enforcement, though what makes working for college campuses unique is that the people one deals with are there on campus almost all of the time.

Gould added that Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Smith colleges “deserve a department committed to respect and public service to all students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

The Campus Police Department for the three colleges was created during a merger in 2009 under Paul L. Ominsky, who now leads the public safety department at Princeton University.

“We’ve learned a lot, and I think grown a lot,” said Smith College Dean of Students Julie Ohotnicky, who served on the search committee that recommended Gould.

“We had a great search and some great candidates and we’re super fortunate to have Ralph joining us,” Ohotnicky said.

Gould earned an associate’s degree from Greenfield Community College in 1998, a bachelor’s degree from Curry College in Milton in 2005 and a master of science degree from New Charter University in San Francisco in 2012 — all in criminal justice.

He has taught police officers at the local and state levels in training and development programs and is certified in a wide variety of police operations and training, including a FEMA-certified program on the management of critical incidents for higher education. Gould is one of only eight people certified to teach an executive overview of a course on that subject to senior staff of any college or university, according to Mount Holyoke College officials.

He is currently co-chairman of the emergency planning committee at Holyoke Community College and a member of its behavioral threat assessment team. At HCC, Gould supervises nine full-time officers and his last day at the community college is June 21.

In his new role, he will oversee a staff of 57 employees, including 27 officers, eight dispatchers, eight administrators and 14 command staff. The Campus Police Department’s annual budget is $3.6 million.

Gould will report to Hammond, who supervises the public safety operations of the three colleges. Hammond served on the police chief search committee of faculty, students and staff from Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges.

Dan Crowley can be reached at


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