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ASU assistant chief leaving police work

May 25, 2011

Arizona State University assistant police chief Jay Spradling is leaving police work to pursue new opportunities.

“This is a bittersweet decision for me. I’ve really enjoyed the university and the police department,” he said.

Spradling came to ASU in 2006 after working for Tempe’s police department for 25 years. He covered practically every aspect of police work while working for Tempe from handling detective duties to narcotics. Spradling also served as SWAT Team commander and he started the city’s gang unit.

“You name it, I pretty much did it,” he said.

ASU police chief John Pickens hired Spradling after he retired from Tempe.

“Jay was well connected and had a good professional reputation with public-safety leaders throughout the Valley.  I knew that he could also assist with building a stronger partnership with the Tempe Police Department and implement joint programs to enhance public safety,” Pickens said.

Since he spent so much time on Tempe’s force, Spradling figured he had a good working knowledge of ASU when he came to work for the university.

“It was a completely different animal. It literally is a city within a city,” he said.

Spradling made the transition with relative ease, something that not everyone is able to accomplish.

“He focused on my philosophy of building partnerships, problem solving and continuing to take the department to a higher level. A combination of his law-enforcement experience, flexibility, decision making skills, customer service, mentoring abilities and risk-taking made him effective as an assistant chief at ASU,” Pickens said.

Spradling came to love his work at ASU where he interacted with students, taught classes, focused on training for officers and started a volunteer program at the police department. Within the operations and patrol areas, he instituted training for officers, oversaw policy changes in critical department areas and transformed the annual police awards ceremony into a formal event.

Assistant chief Allen Clark said he’ll miss Spradling’s viewpoints on varied issues that the department deals with.  

“I enjoyed his enthusiasm and the fact that he brought a different perspective when looking at issues,” Clark said. “I wish him well and know he will succeed at whatever he attempts.”

Pickens will remember Spradling’s sense of humor as well as his “quick draw” with two Blackberries that he carries. 

“Jay has made significant contributions to the department and ASU.  His contributions have made the department a better agency that is more responsive to the community,” Pickens said.

Highlights for Spradling through the years included teaching at international disaster preparedness law enforcement conferences and moving to a new facility that incorporates the needs of a modern police department.

“This is a beautiful facility with a 24-hour Emergency Operations Center that helps us prepare for any emergency on campus,” Spradling said.

He is moving on to Salt River Project where he’ll serve as statewide director of security. He’s looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his life, but he’ll miss ASU.

“I’ve met a lot of great people here,” Spradling said.