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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Meet the UA chief of police

Tom Price

Chief Seastone poses for a photo in his office at the University of Arizona Police Department on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. He became chief of police in 2014.

The chief sits at his desk on a hot Thursday afternoon with a cold can of diet cola, while attending to the daily business of running the University of Arizona Police Department.

Glancing over his shoulder sit four stuffed animals, only some of the many small mementos that occupy the tall wooden bookcase in the far corner of the room.

Adorned in the traditional dark-blue uniform, and the gold, polished badge of an officer, UAPD’s newly inducted chief, Brian Seastone, goes through another day on the job as commander.

In May 2014, the 34 year veteran of UAPD was promoted from commander to chief of police. Arriving in Tucson in 1980 to join the force at UA, Chief Seastone had started out as a field officer, patrolling the streets of Tucson and keeping the university and its students safe.

While much has changed in the past three decades, he still prides himself on the value of protecting the residents of Tucson and keeping the campus a safe environment for students and faculty.

There is far more to Chief Seastone than simply an officer behind a badge and a uniform. From the sentimental ornaments delicately dressing his wall, to an unconventional upbringing, the chief reflects on his experiences of the past and present that make him who he is.

Smiling wide, issuing out a chuckle or two, Chief Seastone dwells upon what he was like as a child and how his family life and personal goals of the past reflect the passions he has now.

“Everyone has a hero growing up, and I guess my heroes would have to be my folks,” Seastone said. “They were just very supporting and understanding, and let me do my own thing, really, which was very cool.”

Growing up, Seastone was the son of two parents heavily involved in politics. At a young age, he had even dreamt of pursuing politics himself. Thanks to his parents, he was able to interact with senators, vice presidents and even help his father in his campaign when he ran for office.

“These things were my passions and have really stayed with me,” Seastone said. “My parents really taught me respect for everybody … and to help people, that has also stayed with me as well.”

With wide eyes, a teenaged Seastone living in Boulder, Colo., looked up to the newly elected sheriff, Brad Leach, who had been somewhat of an “older brother, or cool uncle” to the young Seastone.

The youthful Seastone had embarked on a memorable ride along with Sheriff Leach one night, and when another family friend had been appointed as Boulder district attorney, he had grown more attached to the idea of law enforcement.

“I was working after school and weekends — when I was 15 and 16 — at the police department in the cadet program, working with records and things like that,” Seastone said.

From shuffling papers to recording files, by the next summer, Seastone had found himself growing a close bond with the officers in his hometown. However, like any good story, Chief Seastone’s was not without tragedy.

“After getting dropped off by one of the officers one night, I got a call saying that one of the officers I was very close to had been shot and killed just about a half hour after they dropped me off at home,” Seastone said. “And in the back of my mind, something went off.”

Despite the tragedy, Seastone continued his path as a cadet and by the next summer when he was 18, had landed a job as the major crime scene processor at Boulder County Sheriff Deparment.

Looking back, Chief Seastone breaks out a warm smile and a burst of laughter, reminiscent of all he has learned from his years in Boulder.

“The most important thing that I learned is to look out for yourself and for whoever you are with,” Seastone explains.

The migration to Tucson in 1980 proved to be an influential part of his life.

In 1985, Chief Seastone had worked as a liaison with the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity on the UA campus. Seastone and his colleague and UA alumnus, Robert Guthrie, had soon grown close and they fostered a friendship that has lasted since.

Seastone’s days as UA chief of police are filled with meetings, exploring the campus and getting to know new students and staff. While he mostly plays a behind the scenes role in the department, he still makes sure to spend his downtime walking around outside of the office.

UAPD Assistant Chief Keith Brittain explained how the past year has been with Seastone as police chief.

“Overall it’s been good,” Brittain said. “He is very committed to the university and the department, and he is very active with partnering with other areas and local law enforcement.”

While off duty, Chief Seastone is on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and what Guthrie would call “a dog nut.” Other activities the chief enjoys include yard work, hiking and tending to his two dogs that live at his Tucson home.

“He is like a brother to me and a member of the family,” Guthrie said. “On him as chief, I think that the UA students should know that he is the best man for this position and that, to him, this is more than just a job.”

Follow Lauren Renteria on Twitter.

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