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Campus Police Chief Looks Back at First Six Months

Aug. 21, 2012

“This is one of the best, if not the best, chief’s jobs in Orange County,” announced CSUF Police Chief Dennis DeMaio as he reflected on his first six months on the job.

DeMaio, a 39-year law enforcement veteran, joined the campus community Jan. 17.  He previously served with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, where his assignment for nearly nine years was as airport operations division commander/chief of airport police services at John Wayne Airport.

“I once wanted to be part of the police force at the University of Pittsburgh,” said DeMaio. “That didn’t happen, so I became a city police officer [in Clairton, Pa.].”

But when the latest terminal was being built at John Wayne, DeMaio decided to look for new challenges. “And I still wanted to work at a university campus. So I talked to Judi [King, former chief], I researched the position and decided that this was the place I want to be.

“This,” he stressed, using baseball analogies, “is my grand slam. First base was as a city policeman, second was becoming an Orange County Sheriff, and third base was a two-year assignment with the FBI supervising a multiagency federal task force.”

Since joining the CSUF force, DeMaio has held one-on-one interviews with all department personnel to establish rapport, set goals and expectations. He also makes time in his busy schedule to get out and meet with various members of the campus, something that he enjoys and appreciates. “Everyone is on the same page — our goals are the same.”

The chief points with pride to the many achievements of the department since the beginning of the year: 

  • Obtained funding for mobile data computers and video/audio equipment for installation in patrol units

  • Increased CSUF’s presence on the California State University Critical Response Unit

  • Established a new Gang Intelligence Unit to keep officers updated on gang activities in surrounding areas. CSUF has partnered with Placentia’s Police Department in a joint partnership to fight gang terrorism.

  • Sent two officers to a five-day new Mexico First Responder’s Bomb School. A federal grant funded the training.

  • Hosted a meeting of Women Leaders in Law Enforcement that was attended by all four CSUF’s police officers

  • Streamlined the campus Emergency Operations Plan

  • Completed installation of specialized equipment and materials in a mobile command post vehicle for use in emergency situations

  • Increased visibility throughout campus with an expanded bike patrol

  • Had three officers trained as drug recognition experts

The chief stresses that the goals that were accomplished couldn’t have occurred “without the direct support of the university’s administration, especially my direct report, Interim Vice President of Administration and Finance Bill Barrett and ultimately the hard work of all the University Police officers and our professional staff.

“We have had transitions in personnel over the past year and our employees have stepped up to meet the challenges as a result,” he said.  

During a recent departmental meeting, he recognized several members of the department, naming employees of the quarter, as well as recipients of departmental commendations, and the Distinguished Service, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Lifesaving and numerous Community Service Officers awards. 

“Our job is all about change,” the chief noted. “But it is most about providing servant leadership every day and doing what’s best for the students and other members of the campus community.”

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

Tags:  Campus Updates