Police chief search ends

New chief cites building community as main goal

Photo courtesy of LinkedIn | Daniel Hect accepted the Chief of Police position in December and comes to Xavier from Denison University. He aims to build bonds with the community.

Xavier’s new Chief of Police has more than the traditional experience of serving in the military and other police departments. Daniel Hect has made a
career out of connecting to his communities.

Hect believes that a job as a police officer isn’t confined to formalities, but efforts need to be made to engage with those you are sworn to protect. He isn’t all talk, either. Hect came to Xavier to hang out and talk to students at Coffee Emporium about their feelings toward the police department (XUPD) three times before he accepted the position.

What surprised Hect most about these caffeine-fueled visits and what ultimately led him to take the job at Xavier? He was surprised that when he asked students about the perception of their police force, “There were all good things to say!”

With Hect’s last gig at Denison University, a liberal arts college near Columbus, Hect had to start building the police/community bond that he was aiming for from the ground up.

At Xavier, Hect will add on to the work started by former police chiefs. To build this bond, Hect plans to sit in on club meetings and get to know students, as well as have various officers attend campus events to maintain high visibility.

Hect has big dreams for XUPD. Besides maintaining a transparent, visible department, he aims for XUPD to be accredited by three organizations at the state, national and international levels within the next five years. Despite this significant undertaking, Hect is confident in his new department and hopes that these accredidations will make XUPD an exemplary model as a police department.

Hect maintains that XUPD data demonstrates that Xavier and the surrounding communities of Evanston and Norwood are safe. Even so, he intends to have dialogue with residents about regularly patrolling surrounding neighborhoods.

In one of his past positions at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, his department patrolled nearby communities and took emergency calls from residents, as they were able to provide a quicker response than the LAPD. With the proper time and resources, Hect hopes to replicate this system here in Cincinnati.

XUPD was put in the spotlight earlier this year with the crime spike involving robberies at local UDFs, an assault of a Xavier student and a homicide. As a result, safety was on each of the SGA Executive tickets during elections in November.

A highly discussed topic during the SGA debate was the blue lights around campus. These blue lights function as emergency call boxes that immediately alert XUPD officers who can respond in less than a minute. Though they bring comfort to some, the blue lights are seldom used and are staggeringly expensive. Hect is familiar with the dilemma; removing the blue lights was considered but ultimately rejected at his last position at Denison. No decision has been reached for Xavier.

Prior to former Chief Joseph Milek’s departure there were questions involving a registry of off-campus students’ addresses. The idea behind the registry was for XUPD to be able to alert off-campus residents of nearby crime as it currently does with XU Alert Me. Additionally, XUPD would be more prepared to respond to calls to the addresses
in the registry.

Students criticized the registry, fearing that the police force would abuse the information and target the residences during parties. Hect was not familiar with the registry but was not averse to the proposition. When he first arrived at Denison, officers would hide in bushes to catch students with open container violations, but such practices ceased under
his leadership. Overall, Hect favors a more laissez-faire approach to campus policing.

By: Heather Gast ~Guest Writer~