During National Police Week, the Marquette community is celebrating the Marquette University Police Department for its dedication to maintaining a safe environment to learn, live and work.
“We thank our sworn officers and trained security professionals who patrol our campus, provide critical safety trainings, and work with the community on collaborative safety efforts,” said Joel Pogodzinski, senior vice president and chief operating officer, while recognizing MUPD on Tuesday. “Not everyone will see all the hard work you do every hour of every day, but we benefit from your service and commitment to making our neighborhood safer.”
Highlighting MUPD officers making a difference
“Being an effective officer depends on building authentic relationships and establishing trust,” said MUPD Chief Edith Hudson. “I am fortunate to lead a team of officers who truly care about others and strive to make a difference in their work.”
Police Officer Thomas Wichgers
In addition to conducting personal security awareness training and active shooter training for students, faculty and staff, Officer Tom Wichgers is continually involved with various neighborhood and city groups as a Community Liaison Officer. Last month, Safe & Sound – a Milwaukee nonprofit that unites residents, youth, law enforcement and community resources to build safe and empowered neighborhoods – recognized Wichgers with the “Outstanding Professional Contribution” award at the Safe & Sound Community Awards, previously known as Crime Prevention Awards.
The award is given to an officer for distinguished service in crime prevention and community, and Wichgers’ commitment to those goals goes above and beyond with his participation in the following:
- Cop on a Rooftop (Now Coffee with a Champion with Special Olympics)
- Faith and Blue
- National Night Out
- Coffee with a Cop
- Supporting the Safety Team with Near West Side Partnership
- Homeless Intervention Team
- Work with case workers (i.e. Beth Lappen with Milwaukee County Housing)
- Work with local businesses (CPTED, liaison)
- Fire drills with the Child Care Center and residence halls
“I participate in these events because I believe in them and the good they can do,” said Wichgers.
Police Officer Carolina Mora
Officer Carolina Mora is a night shift patrol offers who is also the lead instructor for MUPD’s implicit bias training (R.I.T.E. training). Implicit bias training helps all officers learn how individual attitudes and stereotypes drive decisions in an unconscious matter. Mora’s expertise is important department-wide — all MUPD staff are required to complete implicit bias training.
“When I interact with students and our surrounding neighborhood, my goal is to be fair. I strive to represent myself in a professional manner knowing I represent not only myself, but also my fellow police officers and the university,” Mora said. “I’ve learned being fair goes a long way in even the most challenging of situations. These type of police interactions can have a greater long-term impact that builds trusting relationships between students, our community and law enforcement.”
Police Officer Juan Martinez
In the late evenings, MUPD liaison officers provide support at the residence halls, responding to concerns and helping resolve any issues that students might have. Known for his communication and interpersonal skills – essential in a liaison officer – Officer Juan Martinez is a night shift patrol officer for Straz Tower at 915 W. Wisconsin Ave. He builds beneficial relationships with students and hall staff and conducts walk-throughs of the residence hall. He believes being visible to the public and patrolling the building is one of the best ways to keep students safe.
“I genuinely believe in the [liaison] program, and I advocate for it whenever possible,” Martinez said. “Building relationships with the students helps establish a point of contact when they want to arrange an event or report and incident, and an officer needs to be able to listen and be professional and respectful when responding to issues.”
Meet the newest MUPD member ready for ‘pawtrol’
This month, MUPD welcomed a male German Shorthair puppy named Blue. Blue is a community support dog who will work to build relationships with the Marquette community and receive training to provide comfort to crime victims. Blue lives with Lieutenant James Hensley and will be at MUPD headquarters every weekday. Stop in or say “hi” when you see him around campus!