KINGSTON, R.I. – January 5, 2012 – The search committee and oral review board charged with selecting two recruits for the University of Rhode Island’s Campus Police Department sure know how to pick them.
In selecting Salvatore “Sal” T. Bugge of Warwick and South Kingstown native Wayne A. Young now of Ledyard, Conn., they chose two of the top graduates of the Rhode Island State Municipal Police Training Academy at the Community College of Rhode Island in Lincoln, which completed its latest 22-week session Dec. 20 with a graduation ceremony attended by a number of police chiefs and dignitaries, including Col. Steven G. O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. Bugge and Young began their work at the University the following day.
Bugge earned the Scholastic Achievement Award for finishing first among the 34 recruits in the class, while Young was presented the Warrior Award for demonstrating excellence in the use of force and a strong, positive attitude. Such attributes led the academy leadership to select Young as the class sergeant, which made him responsible for the other recruits in terms of logistics and preparations.
The process of finding two new patrolmen for the URI police force began in Nov. 2010 with advertisements for the two campus positions. Eighty-four individuals applied for the jobs, and each was offered a short interview to advise them of the physical agility requirements. Only 32 took the agility test and 16 passed. Those 16 applicants faced a 30-minute interview from the oral review board. The top finalists were subjected to intensive background investigation and psychological tests prior to being selected for the academy.
“The University’s hard work to professionalize our police and attract quality personnel has certainly proven to be successful,” said Robert F. Drapeau, director of Public Safety and Emergency Management. “These two officers validate our process and program. I couldn’t be more proud of them and our department’s collective efforts.”
“Both new men are very impressive, and we are very excited to have them aboard,” said URI Police Maj. Stephen Baker. “They will be excellent additions to our community policing efforts.
“This was a very competitive class with only a few points separating all the recruits from the top academic award,” Baker said. “As much time as I spent in Westerly (as that town’s police chief), I don’t remember having a number one graduate from the academy. I am very proud of Officer Bugge. We had an oral review board made up of students, staff and community members and out of our 16 candidates, the members of the oral board collectively chose Officer Bugge as the number one candidate and Officer Young as a close second. I think you can see why.”
Bugge, 30, graduated from Toll Gate High School and earned his associate’s degree from the Community College of Rhode Island with honors. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in United States history from Rhode Island College.
“Officer Young grew up in this area, worked part-time with URI athletics and is very familiar with people in the area. He has college-age kids so he knows what to expect from that age group. Plus, his military training (in the Coast Guard) was focused on law enforcement so we are getting an individual with great experience.”
Young, 46, is a South Kingstown High School graduate who attended Springfield College before joining the Coast Guard. The 10-year Coast Guard veteran served in New Jersey, Virginia, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and St. Petersburg, Fla. During his assignment in Florida from 1993 to 1995, he served as the senior law enforcement officer, which included the following duties: command, counter narcotics, search planning and training.
Both new policemen said they are eager to work here because of the department’s emphasis on community policing.
“I wanted to work here because this is a positive place,” said Bugge, who worked previously at the Quonset Air Force Base and with his father’s trucking firm before being selected by URI for the academy.
“I plan to take courses here, which will help me interact with students and faculty,” Bugge said. “I want to share my experiences to help students fully enjoy their time at URI.”
Before he entered the academy, Bugge wasn’t even sure he could do it. “I was very anxious before I went. The major (Stephen Baker) had a lot of confidence in me, but I hadn’t been in the military. So there was a culture shock and doubts about whether I could complete the work.”
Young said he also had concerns before the academy started. “Being older than most of the guys, who were in their mid-20s, I hoped they would accept me as part of the group.”
But he wasn’t worried about his fitness. “I was physically prepared to endure whatever they would throw at us, but I was still tired after each day. Once you are in the academy, you don’t have a day when you don’t think about the academy. When you go home, you have to prepare for the next day, which includes studying and getting your gear ready. Plus, I had the pressure of being the class leader, so I was responsible for answering questions and making sure all the recruits were prepared for each task.”
Young said having grown up locally and knowing members of the Campus Police force, he was eager to become part of the team.
“Just being able to apply here is an honor,” Young said. “The concept of community policing is a perfect fit for URI because it is such a concentrated community. It’s a place that makes it easy to get out of the cruiser and talk with students.”
GRADUATION DAY: South Kingstown native Wayne A. Young, left, of Ledyard, Conn., and Salvatore “Sal” T. Bugge of Warwick pose with J. Vernon Wyman, URI assistant vice president for business services after their graduation from the Rhode Island State Municipal Police Training Academy.
URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.