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University Welcomes New Police Chief

POLICECHIEF

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

POLICECHIEF
Written by: Communicator StaffFebruary 21, 2018

Written by: Ben Bailey

Tim Potts was hired as IPFW’s new chief of police on Jan. 16.

Potts has a law enforcement background including 18 years of service at Purdue University with 12 years as captain. He also served two and a half years as the chief of police at the University of Mississippi.

While Potts has never officially worked for IPFW’s police department, he has collaborated with IPFW police as well as the Fort Wayne Police Department for special events including self defense classes and event security.

Through his experience as a student in college, Potts gained an affinity for IPFW’s campus, as well as the Fort Wayne community.

“I’ve been familiar with IPFW since I was in college and had friends who attended the university. I would actually come up to Fort Wayne quite a bit during the summers for things like Three Rivers and the fireworks in front of the campus,” Potts said.

As a result of his appreciation for IPFW’s campus and police force, Potts said he has been waiting for an opportunity to join the IPFW police department.

“For about the last year or so I’ve been checking the website repeatedly to see when the position would become open and I was excited when it did last fall,” Potts said.

While Potts has only been chief since Jan. 16, he did offer comments on the campus safety exercise that was held in Oct.

“The exercise was fantastic, and we got a great response from it, but it’s only the starting point for us. The drill certainly pointed out some areas to improve both with communication internally and communication with the community,” Potts said.

Specifically, Potts said the campus notification system is under review to ensure it works efficiently in an emergencyAlong with the school’s notification strategies, Potts also said the IPFW police department will be pursuing an increased presence on social media outlets in order to reach as many people as possible in a short amount of time.

In response to the recent surge in news coverage for campus sexual assault, Potts said educating the community is key to preventing these events from occurring.

“The best thing we can do from an officer’s standpoint and from a department standpoint is try to be available for education and to get out and try to inform people about safety tips and personal safety including risk reduction strategies.  From a department standpoint, we need the cars and the officers to not be idle and be actively patrolling areas,” Potts said. “Especially, if there are large events taking place around campus.”

One strategy to minimize risks of dangerous situations on campus is through police escorts. Potts explained that the IPFW police are always willing to escort students to their vehicles, or patrol specific areas on campus whenever community members ask.

“We want to let our community know that there is no detail too small for us to try to do for them,” Potts said.

In a time where community and police relations are extremely tumultuous, Potts said that the IPFW police department must work together with the community to deepen relationships and bridge divides.

Potts said that the IPFW police department has an advantage in accomplishing this because, as a campus police department, day-to-day operations are less focused on law enforcement.

“I think our community understands that we are different than a municipality type of police agency. We do a lot of things that are not necessarily law enforcement related. We’re much more customer service. I think that helps build relationships in the community,” Potts said.

However, Potts also stated that the conversation between police departments and the communities they serve needs to continue to take place and cannot be a one sided discussion.

“I love this campus, and I love the interactions that we have. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go to many campus events… and I’m really excited to see what the future holds,” Potts said. “We are here to serve everybody and there’s nothing that’s too small. If we can ever partner with anyone we’d be happy to do so.”