Tech police chief says he likes boring

September 27, 2012

Police chief, assistant chief tell how they got where they are today


Tech Police Chief Randall Hermes, right, and Tech Assistant Police Chief Bill Davis say they work well together due to their complimentary strengths and weaknesses. - Photo by Shradha Bhandari

Staff Reporter


The 1977 movie “Smokey and the Bandit” featured policemen in hot pursuit of rugged bootleggers. Joining the Louisiana Tech police department in 1977, Police Chief Randall Hermes found an extremely different environment.


“I worked at Tech for a year and a half,” he said. “At that age (20), I really wanted to get into more. Driving around at 20 mph in circles will drive you crazy.”


Hermes came to Ruston from Shreveport in 1975 to attend Tech. Changing shifts forced him to quit school and focus on law enforcement full time. When the slow campus patrol routes got boring, Hermes switched gears and got a job at the Ruston Police Department.


“I worked on patrol for a while,” Hermes said. “I worked on the first narcotics task force we had here in Lincoln Parish. I did some undercover work. I worked investigations after that until 1993. I applied for and was chosen police chief.”


During his 14 years as chief of RPD, Hermes met his future partner in crime.


Bill Davis, assistant chief of police, came to Ruston from New Orleans in 1979. He saw working at RPD as a chance to get into other law enforcement but ended up staying with the department for 25 years.


“Randall and I didn’t work that closely until he was chief of police and I was patrol commander,” he said. “We began working a lot closer then. We had to. That’s when we really started learning more about each other and how each other work.”


The two men have more than 50 years of experience in law enforcement between them. They share fond memories together of both departments.


“His favorite part of working at Ruston PD––and he can deny it if he wants to––was riding around and hanging around with Tommy Doss,” Davis said of Hermes. “Those were the best times of his life with the exception of his wife and kids. They were like Heckel and Jeckel. If you saw one, you saw the other.”


They told stories of arrests and friends they shared, but Davis said his favorite part of working at RPD was his canine unit.


“At night or on weekends when things were slow I’d find a place, get out of the car with him and do some training,” he said. “To them, it’s all fun and games. It’s all about finding their toy and getting the reward. People think you get the dog hooked on drugs, but that’s not it at all.”


After 29 years with RPD, Hermes retired from the department in 2007, and he then came back to Tech.


“I was 51 when I retired,” Hermes said. “I was young, and it was just time to retire from RPD. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew something would come up. This seemed like it’d be a perfect opportunity, so I came back after all these years.”


A year after Hermes left RPD, Davis decided to retire. The position of assistant chief of police opened up at Tech and Hermes suggested Davis apply, Davis said.


“He asked if I would be interested in coming over here and being the assistant police chief,” Davis said. “I filled out an application and went through the interview process, and I’ve been here four or five years.”


Both said students are their favorite part of working at Tech.


“Our student body here, I’ve seen it change over the last 30 years,” Hermes said. “It has dramatically improved. I don’t know if it’s the way we brought our kids up or the caliber of our students, but they come here to get things done. It’s been a really good experience.”


Part of their good experience has been the way the two work together, Davis said.


“We complement each other in the way we work,” he said. “Our strengths and weaknesses really make a good combination. He doesn’t have a problem going to meetings. He kind of enjoys that. I don’t particularly care for that. I will if I need to, but I like to stay in here and oversee the day-to-day operations. That frees him up to go to meetings around campus.”


Day-to-day operations and meetings are a major slowdown from the narcotics teams and investigations of their pasts, but Hermes said he is glad to settle down.


“Some of the young guys say it’s boring,” he said. “We like boring. Young police officers like action.”


Hermes originally left Tech as one of those young police officers in search of action. After more than 25 years of hot pursuits, however, driving 20 mph is a nice change for Hermes and Davis.


Email comments to ace007@latech.edu.


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