Oct 232011
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

In July, the CSU Police Department became one the of the first in the nation to host Iraqi police officers for training. This weekend police Chief Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt went to Chicago to speak about the benefits.

Rich-Goldschmidt, or Chief Wendy as she is known by her coworkers, participated in a panel Saturday morning at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference. The panel discussed the Iraqi Police Training Program or IPEP, an IACP program that brings Iraqi police officers to the United States to learn about American policing models.

IPEP is funded by a $4.67 million grant from the US Department of State and run by the IACP.

The first delegation of Iraqi officers to participate in the program was a group of nine Iraqis who spent three days of their 21-day trip in Fort Collins.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to showcase what we did,” said Rich-Goldschmidt about her selection as a panelist. “[The Iraqi visit] exposed our whole department those of us that did have an opportunity to interact with them –– to an international community of police officers.”

During their stay at CSU, the officers toured campus, ate an Iraqi meal prepared by LSC chefs and learned about policing in a campus environment. The IACP provided the instruction for the Iraqi officers, but members of the CSUPD answered questions and shared experiences with them through interpreters.

Rich-Goldschmidt’s role as chief was to welcome them and give an overview of CSU.

“I think for me it reinforced that the brotherhood and sisterhood of policing is not limited to the United States,” Rich-Goldschmidt said. “Internationally, we’re all doing often a very difficult job and we should support each other.”

Before the program ends in 2013, cities, towns and campuses across the country will host a total of 210 Iraqi police officers in groups of 10 at a time. The IACP selected CSU as a hosting site because of its campus environment, and because of Rich-Goldschmidt.

“We wanted to show the Iraqis how to conduct democratic policing in an environment where young intellectuals need to be nourished,” said Faisal Ansari, the program coordinator of IPEP. “Chief Wendy faces such challenges on a daily basis, being the Chief of Police at CSU.”

The IACP also selected Rich-Goldschmidt as an example of a woman in law enforcement in a leadership role, said Anthony Hovanoc, the program manager of IPEP.

“[We wanted to] show the Iraqi officers that we do have women in positions of authority, and they do well in positions of authority. Sometimes even better,” Hovanoc said.

According to Ansari, the IPEP officials and Iraqi officers were impressed by Rich-Goldschmidt’s leadership over the course of their stay. This lasting impression led to her selection as a speaker for the IPEP panel at the IACP conference.

For some members of the CSU community, Rich-Goldschmidt’s selection made sense. Amy Parsons, Vice President for University Operations, said she wasn’t surprised that Rich-Goldschmidt had been selected.

“Chief Wendy is truly an outstanding Chief of Police who is setting the standard for quality campus police organizations,” Parsons said in an email to the Collegian. “We are proud of her representation of the university at the national level.”

Lieutenant Christopher Wolf, who has worked for the CSUPD since 1987, said that he has seen improvement since Rich-Goldschmidt became chief in 2009. Wolf, who has attended the IACP conference in the past, also said that Rich-Goldschmidt’s selection was an honor.

“To be a presenter at something like [the IACP conference] is a huge honor because they bring people from all over the world,” Wolf said. “It’s a big honor for Chief Wendy.”

On Wednesday morning, Rich-Goldschmidt said she was looking forward to sharing the experience of participating in IPEP.

“It’s really a valuable program, so I do hope that our panel presentation will expose the positive outlets of bringing in the international community,” Rich-Goldschmidt said, “Hopefully, it will be a long-standing program that the United States can support.”

Collegian writer Elisabeth Willner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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