Q&A with Brian Seastone

Q&A with UA's new police chief: Education, vigilance key to curbing thefts

2014-03-17T00:00:00Z Q&A with UA's new police chief: Education, vigilance key to curbing theftsBy Carmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Police Chief Brian Seastone, the newly named top cop of the University of Arizona Police Department, began his duties March 1.

Seastone, who earns $140,000 a year, oversees 125 employees of which 68 are commissioned officers. He operates the department on an annual $5.4 million budget. On an average day, there are about 55,000 people on campus.

“We are here to not only keep the university safe, but we take opportunities to help educate, especially the students, to make good decisions — to help them not only while they are attending the UA, but after they graduate,” said Seastone, who climbed the ranks over more than three decades on the UAPD force.

Q: What is your vision for the department?

A: My vision for the department is to enhance the safety and success of the university through professionalism, integrity and collaboration. We have a really good department with very committed individuals who are dedicated to serving the university community.

Q: Do you plan on any big changes within the department?

A: As with any change of administration, we will be taking a look at the entire organizational structure and operations, to see what’s best for the department and the university.

We want to see what we can do to make the department even better. I want to ensure our police officers, police aides and community service officers are out and being seen and accessible to the public. We can do this by looking at our use of bicycle patrols and foot patrols.

In addition, I plan to implement a brown-bag lunch Q&A once a semester. This will give the public a chance to meet me and the command staff, and give us an opportunity to get their ideas firsthand. I want us to expand an “Ask a Cop” program to be out on the UA Mall several times a semester. I want to make sure that the department is working as part of the whole community, to address issues and concerns.

Q: What are the top three crime concerns facing students and/or employees on campus?

A: The safety of the community is always the highest priority and drives our enforcement and education efforts. Statistically, however, crimes against property such as theft and burglary are our most reported offenses. Alcohol and drug offenses are also concerns.

Q: How is the department working to eliminate those concerns or improve the situations?

A: Crimes against property are crimes of opportunity, and through education, awareness and watching out for each other, together, we can help reduce these incidents.

Alcohol and drugs are an individual decision that can lead to unintended and undesirable consequences beyond legal issues and code-of-conduct violations. We are looking at working with several groups on campus to see how we can better inform the students and parents about the issues and consequences surrounding the illegal use of drugs and alcohol.

We also have our liaison program, that has officers assigned to residence halls and Greek houses. Each month we have a different topic, and the patrol officers, along with our crime-prevention officers, work to educate the community.

One of the things that I really want to stress is the notion of “If you see it report it.” That’s really important in helping us know what’s going on as well as allowing us to quickly respond to crimes in progress.

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