Six months since Utah State University Police Chief Michael Kuehn showed up to his first day on the job, the dust has settled and Kuehn is at the helm of a department which he says needs to keep up the good work.
“We have a true campus community here,” Kuehn said. “The biggest thing that I have found out is – I can be the kind of police officer I’ve always wanted to be.”
Kuehn came to USU with 30 years of wide-ranging law enforcement experience that left him with a firm belief in community-based policing, which he said the university already does well. “As far as sweeping changes go, no,” Kuehn said. “USU feels very personal for its student and faculty. There have been no real surprises. I’ll be building on what was already here.”
The strong foundation, Kuehn said, exists because of the department’s many programs and its police officers.
The 14 police officers the department employs, both on USU’s Logan campus and at USU Eastern, deliver around 250 presentations a year on safety, self-defense and active shooters, Kuehn said.
“We need to continue to focus on prevention,” he said. “Prevention is key.”
In addition to presentations, the USU Police Department offers several free services to students:
- Jump-starting batteries
- Retrieving keys locked in a car
- Letting students into authorized rooms
- Providing safety escorts on campus
- Providing bicycle registration
- Providing weapons storage
- Disposing of prescription drugs
- Scanning fingerprints required for background checks
Kuehn said the department, which he considers understaffed, has goals to continue teaching students to police themselves and to develop the university’s emergency management programs at its campuses throughout the state.
“It’s not about the police running around and trying to enforce the rules and regulations of the community,” Kuehn said. “We need to encourage students to police themselves. You know, if you see something, say something. Help your fellow man out.”
Six months into his new job, Kuehn said he’s exactly where he wants to be.
“USU has a very special feeling about it,” he said.
Photo by Kyle Todecheene