February 05, 2008
Former Marion Police Chief, looking for a fresh approach to technical training
|Lum Farr, accepts new assistant dean position at Farmerville?s Technical College|
BERNICE, Louisiana (STPNS) -- There?s just something about ?coming home?. Marion?s former Police Chief, Lum Farr, has once again returned to his native Union Parish, not to retire, but to begin yet another new career as Assistant Dean of Farmerville?s Technical College.
At 58, this father of 2 and grandfather, William ?Lum? Farr, possesses a very diverse and interesting career background.
Shortly after graduation in 1968, Farr joined the US Marine Corp and was honorably discharged after completing four years of service. He volunteered for a 45-day air support and air rescue for pilots shot down in North Vietnam his last year (1972) in Viet Nam.
This same year, he and his high school sweetheart, Dottie Medlin, were married.
Farr worked in the construction field and was in his early thirties when he began college at Northeast Louisiana University. He obtained an AA, BA and MA with Honors in Criminal Justice. Farr served as a part-time Criminal Investigator with the UP Sheriff?s Department. He was elected to serve as Marion?s Chief of Police and retired from this position after 14 years.
The longtime law official was Co-Founder and Executive Director of North Louisiana?s Public Safety Commission. He also founded and chaired and served as executive director of the Dual State Narcotics Task Force. He is a Charter member of the National Law Enforcement Training Managers Association.
He and his family moved to Weatherford, Texas in 1993, where Farr co-founded the Weatherford College Forensic Science Degree Program. From 1993-2000, Lum Farr served as Division Chair in the Criminal Justice Institute. While at Weatherford College, he served as Professor of Criminal Justice, Professor of FORENSIC Science, and served as Forensic Science Lab Director.
Shortly before accepting his new job as Assistant Dean at Farmerville?s Technical College, Farr served as Department Chair at the Criminal Justice Institute as well as Director of the Criminal Justice Academic Programs at Weatherford College. Mr. Farr is also founder and owner of American Crime School and founder of Who's Who in Criminal Justice.
To add to his rich tenure, Mr. Farr is also a published writer. He authored Forensic Investigation: Inside the Yellow Tape. He is the founder and editor of Justice Journal, a law enforcement newsletter.
As busy as the man stays, he still finds time to pursue other interests, one which includes being an ?accomplished Cajun Chef?! He is the Executive Consulting Chef at Cafe New Orleans in Fort Worth, Texas, and at U-2 Restaurant in Cool, Texas. He is the owner/operator of Lum?s Catfish and Cajun Restaurant in Garner, Texas.
In his ?spare? time, he enjoys fishing, camping, karate, boat riding and like a good grandpa....babysitting the grandkids!
When I asked Lum Farr about his plans for the technical school, the new Assistant Dean with just a week under his belt, stated he had already begun to look closely at the pre-existing programs.
?The practical nursing, business, accounting, patient care, and welding programs are going well,? he simply stated. ?We have a new welding instructor who is doing a really good job with our students.We have two women in our our welding program now,? he went on to say.
?I would like to see more programs added,? he stated. Having such a strong interest and background in criminal justice and forensics, the Assistant Dean will be looking into starting some classes in these fields.
?When the new multi-purpose building is completed for the Union Parish Sheriff?s Department, I would like to approach the Sheriff with the idea of the new training center possibly being utilized to hold these (forensic/criminal justice) classes,? said Farr.
Mr. Farr has plans to visit all area high schools and survey students and teachers to determine what technical skills are needed and desired. ?Approximately 15% of our area graduating seniors are college bound. For those who do not plan to attend, I want graduating high school students to understand that they can come here and be on a job within a year.?
?I would like to add carpentry and mechanics or other programs as part of our technical training. An associate degree in accounting, office assistant technology and computer applications are also good programs. Right now funding, and lack of participation seems to be holding us back,? he added. He believes that increased marketing of the Institution is a valid approach to the problem of growth. Grants are available to pay for all the tools and materials for the welding and carpentry programs. Scholarships and financial aid are available for many students who wish to attend LTC.
?I want to go to industries and find out what job skills or welding tests they require so we can train our students. We want them to be job ready when they leave here.?
Campus size and parking are two hold backs to enlarging or adding programs. It was suggested that classroom and parking space, or rather the lack of it, could be overcome by offering more night classes and utilizing classrooms at local High and the Junior High schools with the school boards permission.
? To add a program I need three things: 15 students, a qualified instructor and a classroom. The instructor, I can find, the classroom, I can find. It?s the 15 students that I have to go out and look for,? Farr added. He did add that on the technical side he could get by with less students, but on the academic side he needed at least 15 students.
?It would be beneficial to our area to have a fully certified community college like the one in Monroe. I would love to see this happen,? he said.
It is going to take the support of the community, support internally, and most of the work will be on me to let the students know what we?ve got and where we are headed,? concluded Farr.
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