CLARION – Clarion University welcomed Jason Hendershot Jan. 12 as its new director of public safety.
Hendershot comes to Clarion after 15 years with Carnegie Mellon University Police Department, where he began as a security guard in 1999 before promotions in 2002 to police officer and in 2009 to sergeant.
Hendershot said he was drawn to police work when he was a student at West Virginia University. He was planning a different career path but started to think that police work better suited his enjoyment of being outside and his appreciation of variety in day-to-day work. He graduated from WVU in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a focus in criminal justice and a minor in economics.
He supplemented his education by becoming a certified emergency medical technician in 1997 and earning his Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission Act 120 certificate in 2001. He currently is in the Master’s program in leadership at Duquesne University, with a concentration in professional administration.
Hendershot became interested in the chief of police position at Clarion after his wife, Annie, also a law enforcement officer, brought it to his attention.
“The more I found out, it seemed like a real good fit for me,” Hendershot said.
He first became acquainted with Clarion’s public safety when he worked alongside three of its officers, including Sgt. Frank Remmick, providing security for the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009.
“I spent a lot of time with (Remmick) that week. We talked about the work environment and how the department works with the university,” Hendershot said.
His interest in leading the department was affirmed during the interview process.
“I asked a lot of questions, always including, ‘What’s something you’d like to see the department improve upon?’ Pretty much everyone was very satisfied with what the department has been doing,” Hendershot said. He was also happy to hear good reports about the working relationship between the department and university administration.
Along with his law enforcement experience, the Bridgeville native brings to Clarion experience working in the higher education environment and belief in professional development. At CMU he was a supervisor and training officer; in that position and prior ones, he always looked for way to improve himself.
His immediate goal for Clarion is to have a period of evaluating what the department does and determining if it’s up to standards, with the ultimate goal of accreditation.
“I’ve been a big part of that at CMU. The accreditation process assures that the department is following best practices. It will take them to the next level,” Hendershot said. “It seems like the officers are already doing the work they need to do, so they should be recognized for it.”
Hendershot and his wife have a dog, Oscar. His hobbies include hunting and activities related to improving his law enforcement skills.