EDITORIAL: New police chief opens door to opportunities for MUPD

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EDITORIAL: New police chief opens door to opportunities for MUPD

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Edith Hudson was sworn in as Marquette University Police Department’s police chief in December. The department previously was led by interim chief Capt. Jeff Kranz following the suspension of former chief Paul Mascari due to his arrest January 2018 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. While the search process took nearly six months since Mascari’s formal resignation in May 2018, the department took a step forward by hiring Hudson.

Hudson’s depth of experience is impressive and will undoubtedly aid the department in its operations. Her previous leadership roles at the Milwaukee Police Department, including her time as assistant chief of police, serve as positive indicators of Hudson’s ability to take initiative and provide direction. The university’s choice of a seasoned, accomplished candidate will help the department — established May 2015 — grow in its formative years.

Additionally, Hudson has an existing relationship with Capt. Jeff Kranz, who led the department during Mascari’s leave. Hudson and Kranz worked together as tactical leaders in MPD. The familiarity between the two will help ensure a smooth transition as Hudson steps into her new role.

Hudson has knowledge of the city of Milwaukee. Her retirement from MPD came after 25 years of service. Her awareness about the dynamics, geography and issues in Milwaukee will aid in her judgement abilities as MUPD chief.

Experience is not everything, though. Meeting with students, faculty and staff is an essential step for any chief of a campus police department. While Hudson’s experience is primarily in municipal policing, she has shown commitment to embedding herself within the community.

Through previous interviews, Hudson has made it clear that she plans to engage with students on campus. Her openness to familiarizing herself with the community is a great step toward transparency for the department. Hudson’s efforts can also make students, faculty and staff feel more comfortable utilizing resources offered by MUPD. Moving forward, Hudson should continue connecting with the campus community through various meetings and events.

While Hudson has the experience needed to succeed in her new role, she can also provide outside perspectives that can aid in MUPD’s growth. As an African-American woman at a university with a predominantly white student, staff and faculty population, Hudson’s hiring is a step in the right direction for the university’s goal of increased diversity. She will serve as a role model for the Marquette and Milwaukee community.

Mascari’s arrest lessened trust between MUPD and the Marquette community. While the incident was not an indication of the overall effectiveness of the department, it eroded the department’s public image. In its selection of the new MUPD chief, Marquette had the opportunity to restore people’s faith in the department’s transparency and values. It did so with the hiring of Edith Hudson. Now, it is up to Hudson to fulfill these expectations by pulling from her experience and following through with her goals.

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