Although the past few years for Sonoma State University hasn’t been the easiest for faculty or students, the University Police Department is still determined to be a beacon of hope for the campus.
David Dougherty, the current chief of the University Police Department (UPD), helps create a welcoming and professional environment between the students of Sonoma State and the UPD.
Leroy Swicegood, a lieutenant with the department, said “Chief Dougherty provides a good example for his Police Department. He is a tremendously hard worker, has a high moral character, and aspires to provide the safest environment he can to the community he serves”.
Dougherty has served Sonoma State since 2005, and has risen through the ranks of the university police department as an officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and now chief. He’s well equipped to lead his team, and has been trained in a range of areas such as staff development, media relations, and budget coordination. However, experience isn’t the only reason Dougherty stands apart from the crowd.
“Chief Dougherty is a decision maker, however, he is open minded to others ideas, and open to change. He often asks others their opinions because he likes to see other points of view” said Swicegood.
Despite how busy police work becomes, Dougherty does his best to foster positive relationships with the students of Sonoma State.
“I implemented a twitter page, @SonomaStatePD. I host coffee with the chief and cops events. I encourage and support my team’s desire to be accessible and involved with the community,” said Dougherty.
One of the ways he creates a deeper connection with the community is by hosting an event called “coffee with the chief”, where the students can have a friendly conversation with him over coffee or tea. The goal of the event is to build community relations in a relaxing environment. Another thing he does is to make himself more accessible to the community he answers his own desk phone. Dougherty also provides resources for his team, like bicycles and eventually an electric motorcycle, to help allow his team to patrol campus in order to be more accessible to the community.
“I get out from behind my desk to walk campus, and talk to people. So many good things can come from a simple conversation,” said Dougherty.
Dougherty tries to be approachable to the community, and confided that a fun fact about him is he’s visited 26 of the 30 major league baseball stadiums in the United States. Don’t be afraid to greet the UPD officers, or even hold a conversation with them when they’re not busy.
A good way for students to become more active with law enforcement is through an internship. Dougherty explained that the UPD currently has a student internship program, and those interested in criminal justice should contact Officer Howard on the UPD’s 24 hour non-emergency phone at (707)-664-4444. The UPD also has a web page online that holds general information about the department, and also has links for sexual assault victims, and more.