KUDOS: Public Safety & Police Services
KUDOS: Public Safety & Police Services
KU’s University Relations (UR) office has implemented a new staff and department recognition feature. KUDOS, Kutztown University’s Dedication to Outstanding Service, focuses on university administrative departments and the individuals within them, giving the campus community a better look inside many of the working areas on campus.
This week, we sat down with Public Safety & Police Services to get an inside look at the dedicated individuals who enrich the living, learning and working experiences of the Kutztown University community by providing a safe and secure environment in which students can learn and maintaining order throughout various facets of the KU campus.
UR: Can you introduce yourselves and tell us how long you’ve been with KU?
JD: My name is John Dillon, I am the Chief of Police and director of Police Services & Public Safety, and I’ve been here approximately 30 years.
DD: My name is David Drezek, I’m the Deputy Chief of Police and assistant director of Police Services, and I’ve been here a little more than a year. The KU campus community has been extremely welcoming.
PL: My name is Corporal Paul Long, I’m a police specialist, and I’ve been at KU for approximately 15 years.
UR: What is your department’s role and mission at the university?
JD: Our department is the primary emergency response unit to the university. Our main responsibility is law enforcement, but we also respond to fire and medical emergencies. Our mission is to support the academic programs and make Kutztown a safe and secure environment in which students have the opportunity to learn.
DD: Our mission is very important – to provide a safe and secure environment for our students, faculty and staff. We want everyone who visits KU to enjoy this beautiful campus.
UR: Can you explain your department’s staff make-up and responsibilities?
JD: We have 17 sworn police officers who are commissioned by the office of the governor to be police officers for the commonwealth. They hold complete police jurisdiction just like any other police officer in the state. We also have approximately 17 contracted security officers who patrol the campus, lock and unlock buildings, do community rounds and run our communications center for us. I manage all 35 employees and provide direct support the administration. I also manage the alerts for Clery compliances and daily postings of crime alerts, manage and oversee the deputy chief of police, supervisors and patrol officers, and ensure that investigations are conducted and the appropriate people are identified. I’m the one who is ultimately responsible for everything that happens.
DD: As Deputy Chief of Police, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department. I oversee our investigation division and our patrol division. I’m also the professional development coordinator; professional development provides many facets of training, including firearms training, field training, search and seizure training, and patrol operations training, to our officers. We want our officers to be trained to the best of their abilities so that they’re assets to the campus community.
PL: I am an evidence technician. I’m in charge of the evidence room and any evidence processing that occur on campus. I’m also the field training officer for new hires, meaning that I take all new hires and instruct them on how we run operations here at KU. Until recently, I also was in charge of firearms instruction.
UR: How does your department serve students and the campus community?
JD: We serve students multiple ways. First, we provide that first layer of response when they need something. We’re the only operation at the university that is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We become the common platform for everything – not just law enforcement, but also housing, residence life, dining, etc. As things happen, we become way more involved with students than just law enforcement because we’re the face of the university after hours. We support students in any way we can, from simply providing escorts to even providing career advice. We have students come in who will talk to us about anything because we’re ultimately here to help them get through university life and live the best lives they possibly can.
DD: We serve the campus community by providing outreach programs. We do this through R.A.D programs, active shooter programs, bike patrols and routine patrols. We’re currently working with the criminal justice department to establish an internship in our department. We’re also exploring a community policing academy, which would be a short 6-8-week program that provides different avenues of our policing to staff, faculty and students.
PL: We make sure that students are safe and have a good environment in which they can prosper and learn. Young minds might not necessarily see some of the dangerous situations that they put themselves in, so we help them by maintaining a safe and secure space.
UR: What are the points of pride in your department?
JD: Kutztown is an incredible institution. My affiliation with the university goes back to when I first set foot on this campus; I was 12 years old and my brother was an undergraduate student. I never believed that such a place would have such an impact on my life. I fell in love with it then, always wanted to be a golden bear, and I’ve finally achieved that. My main point of pride in my department is that I work with an incredible group of officers. They’re dedicated and professional. We have one of the most senior departments in the state system, which means our officers come, stay and adapt to the Kutztown way of life. They love this place as much as I do. When I look back, I remember them as rookies, and suddenly they’re here 15, 18 or 20 years. It’s just an incredible experience working every day with them know they have the same passion for KU.
DD: One thing I’ve very proud of is our officers and the quality of officers that we have. The majority of our department is comprised of senior officers, so that’s a lot of knowledge, training and experience. Not only do our officers handle university service calls, but they also provide back-up to the Kutztown Borough, handle calls for the borough when their police force is tied up, and even handle Maxatawny Township calls. The officers you see on our campus provide police services for the entire surrounding area, and we’re very proud of what they have to offer the campus community.
PL: One of the things we take pride in is that many of the officers here come from backgrounds in municipal policing, so they have a lot of extra training that I think people don’t realize. I personally come from a municipal department. I worked the DUI center for the DA’s office prior to coming here, and I know several other officers who have similar backgrounds. Another aspect of the pride of working here is getting to meet students from around the world. I’ve met students from Pretoria, Africa; listening to their stories and getting to know them is an amazing privilege.
UR: What would you like people to know about your department that they may not know already?
JD: There are a lot of misconceptions about our department, but one of the funniest misconceptions is that we do more than issue parking tickets. Everyone always talks about parking tickets, when the reality is we don’t like parking tickets any more than students do. But in chaos, you have to create order; we don’t do it because we like to, we do it because we have to make sure that people have safe places to park, that the lots are controlled and that people have access to the things they need when they need it. Another misconception is that we’re unapproachable. We will talk to anyone about anything. One of our best points of order is ‘give us a topic and 10 minutes, and we’ll give you a program.’ We just want to be part of the university community instead of being the “enforcers,” and we take great pride in interacting with everyone on every level.
DD: That our officers are approachable. It’s something I’ve worked on since I got here, especially with the bike unit. We want to officers to socialize and interact with students. We’re here for the students first and foremost, both to protect them and provide them with a secure environment for their education and general well-being. The number one question asked by parents and family members at orientation is: “Is my child going to be safe here?” I can honestly say they are very safe at Kutztown University.
UR: How can the campus community learn more or become involved with your department?
JD: You can learn more about us by coming to visit us. It’s one of the greatest experiences you’ll probably have. Our officers are outgoing and friendly, and we have incredible people who do incredible things every day. You can look us up on our website or call us 24/7 at our non-emergency number: (610) 683-4002. You can also ask us to do programs and invite us to events. We look forward to working side-by-side with everyone in the community.
DD: Chief Dillon and myself have an open-door policy. I’ve had many students come in and ask for advice in law enforcement careers due to my background working with federal, state and local jurisdictions, but some also come in to ask for general guidance. I believe in always chasing your goals, and I’m happy to help students do so.
PL: Communication is the biggest key. I don’t think anyone should be afraid to stop in, say ‘hi’ and talk to us. We’re just as human as they are. To be able to talk to them, get to know them and have them learn about us is a very important proponent of building a strong bond between students and our department.
UR: What’s your favorite thing about your KU experience?
JD: My favorite thing has been the people. I’m humbled by the opportunities I’ve had throughout my career to meet incredible people who have gone on to do amazing things. We have alumni who are guarding the president and making breakthroughs in medical science. It’s amazing to see someone come in as a freshman and realize 12 years later that they’re a leader in an organization you couldn’t even begin to assume they’d ever end up in. It’s a remarkable experience to spend as much time as I have at the university and see so many success stories.
DD: The people. From President Hawkinson, to the Cabinet, to the staff, to the students. The people of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth are very welcoming. I’m proud to say I’m a resident of Pennsylvania and I expect to be here for many years. I’ve very happy that I chose to accept the position as Deputy Chief here.
PL: I don’t know if you can necessarily nail down one thing. I like working with different people. I especially like working with the younger generation and having all that diversity concentrated in one area. It’s also interesting to see how far the campus is progressing; when I first started, they were building golden bear south. Its amazing to sit back and watch.
UR: What does “It’s Good to be Golden” mean to you?
JD: Being golden has been my entire life. Apparently, I was golden before we actually came up with the term. People have always told me that I bleed maroon and gold. I never expected Kutztown to have such an impact on my life, but its been an incredible journey and I owe it all to this institution.
DD: Pride. I take great pride in representing the university, Chief Dillon, and the maroon and gold patch that I wear on this uniform. When I’m representing this department at other law enforcement functions or events in the Tri-State area, I always bump into someone from Kutztown. It’s a remarkable thing that this small community has such a wide reach. Everyone I meet smiles with great pride when they say they graduated from or worked at Kutztown University. It says a lot about the character of the university, how members of the campus community carry themselves and how beautiful our campus is. We hope it continues to grow and that we continue to have many success stories from our staff and students. I am proud to say, “It’s good to be golden.”
PL: Taking pride in where you’re from. I grew up in Kutztown, so I’m very proud to be from Kutztown, and the university is a major part of the town. So, ‘its good to be golden’ means for the students who are coming here (versus going to another university) that they do so because they want to take pride in something.
KUDOS is published twice monthly by the office of University Relations. All issues can be found at www.kutztown.edu/KUDOS. For questions or more information, please contact University Relations at UR@kutztown.edu.