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ASU Police ceremony celebrates new leadership

ASU Police swearing-in ceremony
May 26, 2015

The Arizona State University Police Department is pursuing the continuous improvement critical for the success of the organization and the school, said its top officer during a swearing-in ceremony May 21 in the Tempe campus police headquarters.

Before promoting the five officers and recognizing two other employees for their service, ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson praised the men and women of the department and thanked them for their patience during the organization’s transition in the past year.

“I think we can all agree that this has been a long process and we’re all glad to finally be here and have conclusion to all the interim positions that we’ve had,” Thompson said. “It seems like we had a lot of people in acting and interim roles. So I’m glad we’re finally able to put in place a high-energy, high-quality permanent leadership team.”

The department officially promoted Assistant Chief Luigi Digirolamo to oversee all police operations.

Acting Assistant Chief Michele Rourke returns to the West campus, where she will serve as the police commander. She is replaced at Tempe by newly hired Assistant Chief Patrick Foster. Foster, appointed to his new rank during the ceremony, will oversee all police support services.

“I want to thank Michele publicly for all of her dedication and commitment,” Thompson said. “I relied on her every day and could not have made it through the last year without her, and that won’t change as she leads our West campus team.”

Thompson congratulated the newly promoted officers and challenged them to make a positive difference in the organization and across campus. He directed special comments in particular to the newest leaders, the sergeants:  Dustin Melton, Katie Fuchtman and Joseph Morel.

“Thank you all for your courage and desire to be part of change and to come onto the field rather than stay in the bleachers,” Thompson said. “Dedicate yourselves to set the example, to create an environment that will produce a product that is needed within our department and our communities.”

Thompson said positive strides have been made within the department in the past year, but more work remains to be done. He urged the entire police team to embrace organizational or personal change, and to “plan and act now” to reap benefits in the future.

“I’m excited about the future of ASU police,” Thompson said. “Each and every one of you plays a key role in our success, as well as the success of the university. I have every confidence that you will flourish and be successful and commit to creating an environment conducive to that effort.”

One of the standout officers in the department and newly promoted to commander during the event was John Thompson. He takes charge as the Tempe campus commander, supervising the activities of all the patrol officers through their assigned sergeants.

“I look forward to the challenge,” said Thompson, an ASU alumnus and former Marine Corps reservist. “I look forward to getting out there and working with the sergeants here on Tempe campus to provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for students and all who visit ASU.”

Thompson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from ASU. He has been a patrol officer at each of the ASU campuses and served as a supervisor and sergeant in three of the four locations. More recently he led the department’s investigations bureau.

“I bring experience and an educational background to the position,” he said. “I will work hard to do it justice.” 

With nearly 36 years of policing experience, one of the more seasoned officers promoted is Digirolamo. He served in two other police departments before coming to ASU.

“I have a lot of law-enforcement experience,” he said. “So I hope to bring that experience to mentor the newer officers.”

Digirolamo joined the department in 2013 as a sergeant. Prior to ASU, he was police chief and public safety director for the town of Superior. Before that, he spent 26 years with the Mesa Police Department, where he served in various roles, including patrol operations and special investigations.

The newest addition to the department is Foster, a seasoned former lieutenant with more than 22 years in law enforcement. Foster has been a patrol officer and an investigator and served in special positions related to family violence and gangs.  

“I’m really excited to join the team here,” Foster said. “It doesn’t take long being around the dedicated people of this department to know that they are skilled, knowledgeable and very professional.”

Foster said he looks forward to collaborating with the command staff to make the ASU Police Department a “model campus law-enforcement agency” regionally and nationally. 

“Not only in the way we deliver public safety,” he said, “but in the way we engage in the community, both inside and outside the borders of ASU at all the campuses across the Valley.”

Two other police employees also were recognized for more than 20 years of dedicated service to the department. Both Chuck Cornfield and Patricia Pryce started working for ASU police in 1995. Cornfield has served as a police aide and Pryce as a dispatcher.