Blanche Hughes, vice president of Student Affairs, introduced Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt, CSU Police Department chief of police hopeful, to a small crowd Tuesday afternoon, to share her experiences in the field and answer questions from stakeholders.
Beginning the interview, Rich-Goldschmidt, one of the final candidates chosen from 60 original applicants nationwide, announced she was “humbled and honored to be among the Top Three folks,” and explained her background as an officer and “commitment to professionalism.”
Over the past 25 years, she has served in the criminal justice field, spending the last six serving as University of Northern Colorado chief. “Campus policing is my niche, what I do, what I like . I enjoy the challenges, and I find it an exciting group of people,” Rich-Goldschmidt said to an audience seated in the Senate Chambers in the Lory Student Center.
Broaching the reason why she wants to come to CSU, Rich-Goldschmidt said, “I simply believe it’s time . for professional growth . (it’s) a great opportunity to share the skills I have.”
In response to the challenge with transition between institutions Rich-Goldschmidt said, “(The) policing is essentially the same but it’s different in terms of how it’s carried out. (It’s) about understanding the culture . (to) meet with as many people as possible to establish a learning curve . (and take) a close look at the strategic plan or establish one if there’s not one.”
Speaking on the challenges she faced as police chief at UNC, she discusses a “tragic” incidence the first week of school, a suicide on campus.
“It was magnified in terms of tragedy as he was still alive when found by friends . students and I were joined at the hip during that situation,” she said.
Additionally, she brings to light another challenge: that “campus policing has taken on a little different flavor concerning environmental safety and risk assessments.”
Interim CSUPD Chief Frank Johnson shared in her sentiment that, “(Policing is) not the same as it was 20 years ago.”
As for how Rich-Goldschmidt envisions her first few days as chief if chosen, she said, “I would like to be very visible, out greeting the community, building trust and one-on-one relationships.”
She commented further saying that she is “big on foot patrol” because it “allows for visual one-on-one as humans.” Her plans are to change the way students, faculty, and staff, feel about officers; “seeing cops as approachable people.”
As for the department, she wants to “make sure there is time for healing to occur,” after former CSUPD Chief Dexter Yarbrough’s embattled January resignation, and that “the steps to follow will be successful.” Wendy discussed how at UNCPD, the department had defined values, such as integrity and fairness, which are “workable and appropriate” in training officers to “think creatively and independently without (having to) remember every little detail.”
When asked to comment on the new Citizen’s Academy program established by CSUPD to promote community involvement, she said, “I’m a big believer in them . (it’s a) wonderful tool to interact with the community (and) help them understand the perceptual influences.” Wendy gave the example of how “cops look like Robocop” when they walk and said this is because after a while “you learn you don’t want to hit your elbow on your gun,” not due to displaying macho facade.
Evaluation forms, due by noon Friday, June 26, circulated the room, inviting the public to indicate the strengths and weaknesses of Rich-Goldschmidt as an applicant as well as comment and possibly recommend them for hire.
Staff Writer Lauren Leete can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.