Utah Tech’s new interim police chief sets benchmark for academic policing – St. George News

ST. george – A 23-year law enforcement veteran and former department captain has been sworn in as Utah Tech University’s interim police chief.

Ron Bridges was sworn in as the interim chief of the Utah Tech University Police Department by St. George Police Chief Kyle Whitehead during a ceremony on August 5, 2022, in St. George. Photo by Utah Tech University, St. George News

Ronald Bridge leads an agency focused on excellence, which is reflected in the international recognition the department received in June.

Bridges, the school’s former police captain, was sworn in as interim chief of the Utah Tech University Police Department by St. George Police Chief Kyle Whitehead in an Aug. 5 ceremony.

In an interview with the St. George News, Bridge said he asked Whitehead to do the award because they work closely with the St. George Police Department on many occasions and have a good working relationship with local law enforcement. agencies in the region.

The path to becoming the new interim chief began a few months ago after former police chief Blair Barfus accepted a position with another university police department on the north side. That’s when Utah Tech began the process of selecting a new interim chief internally, Bridge said.

It was then that he decided to apply for the position.

Bridges joined the Utah Tech Police Department in 2018 as an administrative sergeant, Barfus said shortly after he was named the department’s police chief. Bridge and Barfus have worked together for years as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, a multi-jurisdictional task force that targets individuals who use the Internet to exploit children.

Within a few weeks of completing the application process, Bridge said he received the call he was hoping for – he was the chosen candidate. The call drew an emotional response, accompanied by a deep sense of pride, for being chosen to lead a unit of six officers and 13 reserve officers serving with law enforcement agencies in Washington County.

Bridges said she is focused on developing a more holistic, community-based policing system, and would like to expand collaborations between the department and other academic departments at the university.

“Our primary role here is to make sure the campus is safe for students — inside and out,” Bridge said.

He also said he is looking forward to working with “superior officers” who continue to strive for excellence while serving the college community, which will be unique and will provide many opportunities to interact positively with the students.

“Our department provides events for the students, and our officers participate in many events,” he said. “We’re happy to be in the stands with these kids.”

Ron Bridge Named New Interim Chief of Utah Tech University Police Department in St. George August 5, 2022 | Photo by Utah Tech University, St. George News

He also said he looks forward to taking on a more advisory role within the department, which will give him the opportunity to guide officers as they continue their law enforcement work.

“I’m not going to be in this profession forever,” Bridge said. “And I’m honored to be involved in preparing these officers to one day take my place.”

Bridge has been very active since he started in the department three years ago – his efforts have received international recognition.

The most recent was awarded last month, when Bridge received the Management Excellence Award from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators – a certification project two years in the making.

After certifying the department’s ability to handle day-to-day law enforcement operations, the department received IACLEA accreditation, which Bridge said is one of only 7% of college police departments nationwide and the only university law enforcement agency to receive this accreditation. Utah

The years-long process included a review of both the police department and the university, which enrolled nearly 12,000 students at the start of the current school year. The certification serves as a testament to the superior service and crime prevention efforts they demonstrate every day in their work, Bridge added.

In the year In 2019, the campus police department became the first in Utah to receive official recognition from the state police chiefs association, a designation intended to increase transparency and set high standards — essentially an award that puts a stamp of approval on the university.

As part of the vetting process, the campus police force opened its policies and facilities to the association, and found that the department met or exceeded industry best practices on 168 different “points of evidence”; After overcoming the biggest hurdle – which was the creation of a policy and procedures manual – the first of its kind for the department.

In the department’s efforts, the Utah Tech Police Department is a leader in university law enforcement focused solely on professionals and committed to public safety, Bridge said, but is also committed to showing the humane side of policing.

Copyright Saint George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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