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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UAPD sees increase in number of police officers

	Ryan Revock/The Daily Wildcat

	An UAPD pulls into the police station at the University of Arizona on Wednesday.

Ryan Revock/The Daily Wildcat

An UAPD pulls into the police station at the University of Arizona on Wednesday.

As part of a three-year growth and reorganization plan, the University of Arizona Police Department is now fully staffed.

The plan, which will soon to be enter its third year, aims to add 12 police officers – as well as other support positions like police aides over the course of three years, according to Anthony Daykin, chief of police for UAPD.

“It’s a plan that puts more police officers to work out there in the community,” Daykin said, “in order to provide the level of service that the university expects and deserves.”

Currently, the police department has an authorized staffing level of 68 positions, which include positions such as the chief of police, commanders, lieutenants and police officers.

However, although all authorized positions will be filled by Sept. 30, 11 of them will not be deployable just yet.

Several newly hired officers will be in training at a police academy until January 2014, with additional training to follow, three are currently in field training and two officers are deployed in Afghanistan, according to Daykin. Four officers are also stationed on the Mount Graham International Observatory, located approximately 125 miles east of Tucson.

“We struggle to remain fully staffed,” Daykin said. “It doesn’t happen very often, and we’re very pleased when it does occur.”

A complete staff of fully trained and deployable officers allows UAPD to offer a number of police resources and perform even better for the campus community, he said.

This can be a hard feat for the department, as newly recruited officers need months of training before they can actually be considered deployable.

“We work very hard to recruit good people,” Daykin said. “It’s my belief that we need kind of a unique individual to be a police officer here … We’re very selective of who we bring to be part of our department, and who we put out there to serve our community.”

After a new officer is selected, they go through one week of pre-basic training and orientation before being sent to a police academy. From there, they return to the department for three weeks of post-basic training in the classroom, then 15 weeks of field training, where they ride with another officer who allows them to do increasingly more work, according to Daykin.

If they successfully complete all the training, the officer can then work on their own.

“It takes a long time to not only train police officers, but to select good candidates to be police officers,” Daykin said. “So it’s a very long process.”

Ian Theel, a UAPD police officer, was hired in September 2012 but did not officially join the force until January 2013, after he completed training through the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center.

“It was really just a chance to help people, to do something that was sort of bigger than myself that drew me to law enforcement,” Theel said.

Theel said he enjoys working for UAPD in particular because the UA has its own feel to it, adding that he has the opportunity to reach out to students through liaison programs.

UAPD has both Residence Hall and Greek Life liaison programs, where a specific officer is assigned to a residence hall or greek house to help reach out to students and assist with any problems.

“I like that aspect of it,” Theel said. “I like that the people I work with, the community I serve on a regular basis, they’re not just nameless, faceless individuals as it is a lot of times [with] other law enforcement departments.”

Rather, they’re people he gets the opportunity to work with on a regular basis, he added.

“We’re fortunate to have officers specifically on our campus who understand the student experience, because I find that they’re generally pretty responsive to our students,” said Chrissy Lieberman, associate dean of students for the Dean of Students Office. “I think that this [full staff] only will enhance that.”

Aside from just police officers, there are a lot of other roles and people in the department without whom UAPD would not be successful, Daykin said, including dispatchers, police aides and student workers.

“We’re not just chasing numbers,” Daykin said. “We’re chasing quality individuals.”

– Follow Alison Dorf @AlisonRaeDorf

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