How has your RIT experience influenced your life personally or professionally?
I lived about eight hours from campus, and I remember feeling a sincere sense of loneliness during those first few days, but freshman orientation was great and I quickly made very good friends. A shared experience in a new place binds people together! On my first day as a freshman, I met a sophomore orientation volunteer and we became friends. And over the next few years, good friends. We’ll celebrate our 34th anniversary later this year! After four sons and five grandkids (so far), I guess that’s a real impact on my personal life!
What experience most prepared you for life after RIT?
One class I really appreciate is on research and statistics. Research skills are important, not only being able to conduct the research, but as a police leader, to know when research is valid and reliable or not. A few years ago there was a study of police traffic stops and conclusions were made that were not based on good research methods. I was able to understand that and, in my role as a member of the Board of Directors of the state Chiefs of Police Association, commission another study that proved the fallacy of the research and show how better research was needed. That one study turned the tide on very negative and inaccurate research and gave pause to making conclusions based on failed methods. My classes at RIT were the basis for my knowledge in that subject and had a very real impact on public policy.
If you could go back to graduation day what advice would you give yourself?
If there were one piece of advice I would give my then-self, it would be to not set your goals too low. I remember thinking “If I could retire as a sergeant, that would be great!” Once I achieved that goal within five years of joining the department, I was left at a loss for what was next. After some time, I revisited my goals and set a goal at what I thought was too high – be a Chief of Police. Well, I’m back to “what now?” I still have goals for my remaining years in this profession and still credit RIT for giving me the experience, skills and abilities to achieve my goals, and then some.