ASU Police Department makes command staff changes
After overseeing police operations at the Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus since its opening in 2006, Richard Wilson has been named ASU’s interim assistant police chief.
Wilson’s departure from the Downtown Phoenix campus creates a new opportunity for Commander Kevin Williams, who will now oversee police operations downtown as well as continue in his capacity as commander at the West Campus.
In other campus changes, Commander Jim Hardina will take over police operations at Polytechnic while Commander William Orr moves into Hardina’s position in Tempe.
“Rich Wilson is a proven leader who has directed Downtown Phoenix campus police operations for the past five years. Commanders Hardina, Orr and Williams will benefit from learning about operations at other ASU campuses and providing leadership to their newly assigned areas,” Chief Pickens said.
Each leader from ASU’s Police Department recently explained what they are now responsible for overseeing and what they enjoy about police work at the university.
Richard Wilson came to ASU to work on his master’s degree in public administration after serving as a U.S. Army Infantry officer. While earning his degree, he joined the university’s police department in 1986 and “enjoyed working in higher education enough to make campus law enforcement my career.” He was promoted to commander in 2006.
In his new position as assistant chief, Wilson is in charge of Dispatch, Records, crime prevention, criminal investigations, property and fleet and the evidence section of the department. He replaces former Assistant Chief Jay Spradling, who left the university earlier this year.
“The energy and diversity of the campus are elements that I have always found appealing as well as the opportunity to make positive impacts on the lives of students and staff,” Wilson said. He also enjoys working for a police organization that supported his efforts to become an expert in events security and behavioral threat assessments.
“There are very few police departments in the country where that would have ever been possible and that is something I have always been appreciative of,” he said.
Wilson is a nationally recognized leader in behavioral threat assessment. In his capacity as a senior consultant with Sigma Threat Management Associates he will be co-presenting a program in Sydney, Australia, this month on threat assessment in higher education for a consortium of Australian University and Colleges.
Commander Kevin Williams has added supervision of the Downtown Phoenix campus to his duties as West campus commander. A relative newcomer to ASU, Williams joined the department in 2010 after a long career in police work in cities such as Detroit and Los Angeles.
While working for the Los Angeles Police Department, Williams took on assignments such as watch commander responsible for sworn and civilian employees in Watts and downtown Los Angeles. He was also responsible for overseeing a portion of the city’s Jail Division with 120 employees and as a commanding officer who oversaw a $22 million budget, 400 employees and 10 custody facilities. He retired from their force in 2005 and moved on to the Lane County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office. Williams first became involved in campus work at the University of Oregon where he was the director of Public Safety.
Williams discovered a dedicated staff and an enjoyable work environment at ASU when he joined the department in 2010.
“The students are friendly and the faculty and staff are amazing! As a career sworn law enforcement officer, I enjoy working for a real college police department that has embraced community policing,” he said. “We have concurrent roles as servants of our community and as co-workers who are community members bonded for a common goal: the safety, security and academic success of our students.”
Commander Jim Hardina came to the ASU Police Department as an officer 11 years ago after working as a police officer in Santa Barbara, Calif. He’s served the university as an officer, worked his way up to detective, sergeant and eventually to commander. He worked at the Polytechnic campus as a patrol officer and as commander, a role that he is returning to where he’ll be in charge of operations as well as continuing to handle public information officer duties for the department.
Current projects that Hardina is working on include focusing on continual improvements and expansion of sexual assault training. He is also developing a Facebook page for the department. Hardina prefers working in a university environment that offers a different style of policing.
“We’re customer-service oriented with the Police Department integrated with the overall goals of the university such as seeing students graduate,” he said. “Our goal is to create a safe environment where it is conducive to study.”
Hardina enjoys working with a younger population. “They’re idealistic. They are easier to reason with in many cases,” he said. “They are brand-new adults who are still learning life lessons and life skills.”
Commander William Orr has worked for ASU’s Police Department for the past 20 years in a variety of roles from firearms instructor to crime prevention. In his new role with the Tempe campus, he’ll be in charge of patrol operations and oversee the firearms program as range master.
During his time at the university, Orr has watched the department grow from approximately 30 to 70 police officers. He enjoys working at ASU where each day presents varied challenges, but he can always count on working with dedicated people who genuinely care about the university community.
“The job remains fun and rewarding with great employees to work with,” Orr said. “The job is never the same. You never know what the next day will bring.”
During his long career at ASU, Orr has held the rank of officer, corporal, sergeant and commander.