There was no one within the CSU Police Department with enough experience to fill the now-vacant Chief of Police role, according to the current interim chief, so the university had to reach outside its borders for potential candidates.
After a national search, the three final prospects for CSU chief of police, each with over 20 years of related experience, are scheduled for public interviews in the next two weeks.
Interim Chief Frank Johnson said of the future chief, “I would like to see more concentration on the people within the department, sworn and non-sworn, to enhance their skills and knowledge.”
With over 60 applicants nationwide for the position, the university’s 11-member search committee, led by Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes, condensed the list of prospects down to three last month.
Those three candidates are:
Joe Dale Pittman – Chief of Police at the University of Alaska Anchorage
Jerry Schiager – Commander of Northern Colorado Drug Task Force at Fort Collins Police Services, and
Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt – Chief of Police at the University of Northern Colorado.
The search for a new chief follows former CSUPD Chief Dexter Yarbrough’s January resignation amid allegations of sexual harassment. Johnson immediately stepped up to the plate, serving as interim police chief.
As one of the 60 hopefuls for the position, Johnson was considered and attained a position in the top eight but did not proceed to the final three.
Since CSUPD’s beginning in 1955, three chiefs of police and two interim chiefs have served both the department and the Fort Collins and CSU communities.
Resumes available on the CSU Web site reveal such experience, starting with University of Alaska Anchorage Chief of Police Joe Dale Pittman, whose “philosophy of leadership is ‘Student Centered,’ which means (his) goal is to make sure the students (he serves) can succeed in their academic endeavors.”
Pittman started his career as a Property Cadet for the Anchorage Police Department fresh out of high school. In his cover letter he explained he is dedicated to maintaining a safe environment for his community, which is exemplified by his implementation of a more efficient danger notification system at the University of Anchorage that “(makes) live announcements over the speakers of every telephone on campus.”
Furthermore, he maintains he holds a strong conviction to lead in honesty, encourage diversity, promote education and said, “Integrity is everything in police work . the police must be worthy of the trust the community places in them.”
Chief Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt at UNC believes that “(departmental) leaders must consistently ensure that the message they convey is balanced with fairness and professionalism,” as stated in her cover letter to CSU.
Graduated UNC in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts Sociology Degree, her career began as a police officer at UNCPD, where she designed crime prevention programs and gained familiarity with law enforcement. From then on, she devoted herself to a “community-based policing,” developing innovative health and safety programs on campus such as “Stop, Look, and Listen” and providing unique services like the late hour “buddy system” escorts.
A native to the community and 1990 Summa Cum Laude graduate of CSU with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Social Sciences, Lt. Jerry Schiager, commander of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force, believes that a “(department’s) success is dependent on sound leadership that sets positive standards of conduct according to the values of the institution and the community.”
Beginning in the U.S. Army, Schiager went on to work in Colorado as a CSUPD police officer, a detective of a Gang Intervention Unit, a D.A.R.E. Officer, and a commander on a SWAT team in conjunction with being patrol watch commander.
His appreciation of and respect for the community was validated through attaining a Community Civility Award in 2003, he said, for “promoting civility and neighborliness in the City and University Community.”
Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police Chief Interviews
What: CSU chief of police open forums in which the public has an opportunity to ask the three CSUPD chief finalists questions
Where: Lory Student Center, Senate Chambers located across the hall from the Associated Students of CSU office
Tuesday, June 16 from 4 to 4:45 p.m. — Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt, chief of police at the University of Northern Colorado
Thursday from 4 to 4:45 p.m. — Jerry Schiager, commander of Northern Colorado Drug Task Force at Fort Collins Police Services, and
Thursday, June 25 from 4 to 4:45 p.m. –/Joe Dale Pittman, chief of police at the University of Alaska Anchorage.