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ASU Police Department grows to keep pace with bigger university

July 31, 2006

The ASU Police Department is taking on new responsibilities and recruiting new officers to accommodate the rapid population growth at ASU's four campuses.

“ASU Police is constantly looking for ways to improve its services, which includes awarding new opportunities to deserving professionals and recruiting new officers to maintain the safest environment for work, study and research at ASU,” says ASU Police Chief John Pickens.

As part of these new opportunities, Sgt. Richard Wilson has accepted a new role at the department as police commander for the Downtown Phoenix campus. Wilson, who is responsible for coordinating law enforcement functions for ASU's newest campus, has been speaking with students and faculty about security and safety at the campus since taking his post.

Wilson joined ASU Police in 1986 and worked his way through up the ranks. His experience includes providing security detail for the National Football League (NFL), the Salt Lake Committee for the 2002 Olympic Games and the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games. He serves on the board of directors for the Arizona chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

To fill Wilson 's former sergeant rank, ASU Police promoted Cpl. Christopher Speranza to interim sergeant. Speranza was hired in 1999 and climbed the ranks to corporal in 2004, serving as field training officer and shift supervisor. Speranza has an associate's degree in law enforcement and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice studies from ASU.

Meanwhile, a law enforcement veteran with a 26-year history with ASU Police is returning to his former role at the department. Cmdr. Mark Roberts is transferring to the West campus as the administrative bureau commander. Roberts was promoted to corporal in 1986 and to sergeant in 1991. He served on the West campus force for six years until being transferred to the Polytechnic campus in 1997 to coordinate law enforcement functions with Mesa Police Department.

In 2000, Roberts was promoted to police commander at the Polytechnic campus. In 2005, he became commander of the administrative services division at the Tempe campus.

Filling Roberts' shoes at the Tempe campus is Sgt. Manuel Montoya, who joined ASU Police in 1987 and moved upward within the agency to his newest responsibility as interim police commander of administrative services.

Succeeding Montoya's position is Cpl. Michele Rourke, who joined the department in 1994 with eight years of field training officer experience and was promoted to corporal in 1998. She previously served as a recruit training officer at the Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2000-2001 and 2005-2006.

Blythe Frausto, with more than 20 years' experience in law enforcement and three years at ASU Police, is transitioning to her new position as accreditation manager. She oversees the department's efforts to maintain international accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Frausto has an associate's degree in business administration and is a retired captain of the Hobbs Police Department.

Another promotion occurred within administration services at ASU Police. Veronica Estep is now the human resources specialist for the department, responsible for managing all personnel operations. Estep joined the ASU West campus police force in September 1998 and worked there as a police radio dispatcher until assuming the role as an office specialist at the Tempe campus.

Integral to operations of a police department are the police aides, who assist officers in carrying out law enforcement and public safety responsibilities for the ASU community. The following individuals were named lead police aides for the department: Leonard Nasca, Nicholas Ellis and Katie Pogue.

“The men and women of the ASU Police Department are some of the finest officers in Arizona , committed to making a difference in the ASU community,” Pickens says. “Please join me in congratulating these officers to their new positions as they continue to serve the university.”

In addition to these significant personnel advancements, ASU Police is hiring qualified candidates for several positions at the department, including police officers, police recruits, police aides, radio dispatcher and administrative assistant. For more information on the minimum qualifications for these positions, visit the Web site (