Skip to main content

ASU's Polytechnic campus establishes police force for the Williams Campus


July 01, 2002

ASU's Polytechnic campus took over police services for the educational entities on the Williams Campus July 1, with an expanded police presence and more community-oriented policing.

Eight officers are part of ASU's Polytechnic campus's expanded police department. Six certified officers and two police aides patrol the campus.

Joining Commander Mark Roberts and police aides Walter Carter and Ron Swenson are Linda Stroh, Tad Martin, Jason Watson, C.J. Hanselman and Bill Wright.

The team of eight are responsible for police services at ASU's Polytechnic campus, the Williams Community School, and Chandler-Gilbert and Mesa Community colleges. Chandler-Gilbert also has a police force that serves the Williams Campus.

ASU's Polytechnic campus's new police force replaces the city of Mesa police unit formerly housed on campus. Mesa chose not to renew its contract with ASU's Polytechnic campus when it expired June 30. The 12 Mesa officers are still located on the Williams Campus, now based at the airport fire department. Those Mesa officers and the ASU's Polytechnic campus force will serve as backup support for one other.

Roberts, who has directed ASU's Polytechnic campus's police presence since the campus was established five years ago, said residents, students, faculty and staff should see more police on campus.

"We're here for their safety and security, so they can do their jobs and study and live here without worrying about crime or being a victim," Roberts said.

The focus on community policing will be new for ASU's Polytechnic campus. Mesa officers had to cover all of the former Williams Air Force Base and the surrounding areas. ASU's Polytechnic campus officers will now concentrate on the residential neighborhoods of campus and the educational buildings and their occupants. Roberts said community meetings, foot patrols and bicycle patrols will all be efforts he and his officers will use to get to know the ASU's Polytechnic campus community better.

"An officer on a bicycle is easy to approach physically and easier to talk to," Roberts said. "The officer is more aware of the community and out and about more when on the bicycle. And kids like to talk to bicycle officers."

Bikes also make it easier for officers to get around campus where cars can't go. "Bikes are the answer to mobility and emergency response," he said.

Although there will be a more concentrated effort on increased police presence, Roberts said ASU's Polytechnic campus police will also work to involve campus residents, students and employees in maintaining the safety of the campus.

"It's called taking an active role. If you see something that is wrong or doesn't seem to be right, then you need to call us," he said. "And it starts with small things. Litter, which leads to graffiti, which leads to bigger crimes. We need to work together in a partnership to create a safer, cleaner community."

ASU's Polytechnic campus's new police force comes well prepared. Combined, the officers have 90 years of police service. And the officer's backgrounds bring versatility in public safety to campus. Stroh is an FBI and Secret Service-trained expert in computer crimes and has served as a detective in nearly every division of police service. Hanselman is a specialist in persons crimes. Martin is a certified bike patrol officer and a school resource officer. Watson is a specialist in alcohol and DWI enforcement.

For now, they are joined by Wright, who joined the Polytechnic campus force from ASU's Tempe campus. He has 23 years service at ASU, but is being called into active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard. When he leaves, he will be replaced by Robert Russo, a motorcycle police officer on loan from ASU Main.

Those who work and study in the campus's academic buildings will see more of Carter and Swenson. Police aides will concentrate on those buildings, as well as assist the other officers in their patrols. Swenson is on loan to the campus from Burns Security until the department fills the position permanently.

The ASU's Polytechnic campus Public Safety Department is located in the Administrative Services Building. To reach ASU's Polytechnic campus police, call 911 in the event of an emergency. Call 727-3456 for all other calls.