Hughes presents police chief plan

Jessica Johnson

Candidate for Campus Police Chief George Hughes spoke at an open forum and answered questions from the community.
[/media-credit] Candidate for Campus Police Chief George Hughes spoke at an open forum and answered questions from the community.

UW Oshkosh held an open forum for potential Campus Police Chief candidate George Hughes, to hear and discuss his philosophy for the department on Nov. 16. Hughes is currently Chief of Police at California Polytechnic State University. Hughes said his stance for community policing is looking at it as a roadmap to address crime, the fear of crime and the quality of life. His main goals are to increase efficiencies and improve safety on campus. “We do that by community engagement and strengthening relationships between the police and all the community members in order to be successful,” Hughes said. Hughes said the two basic components he thinks are most important in community policing are partnership and problem solving. “It all starts with partnerships,” Hughes said. “You can’t do true problem solving until you have actually developed partnerships and relationships first.” According to Hughes, the analytical strategic approach to problem solving is to identify the problem and then figure out the best way to respond. “Problem solving generates innovative ideas and enables us to solve these problems the first time so we don’t continue to run into the same kinds of problems,” Hughes said. “Let’s look at the problem and use our resources to take care of it right away.” Hughes said after the campus adopts the partnership and problem solving methods, the next step is to make it an organizational philosophy within the campus community. “Campus policing is a joint organizational responsibility, and if we get to the point where it is a campus wide investment, then it becomes the entire campus’s responsibility to help with safety concerns,” Hughes said. “[The police department] can’t be everywhere, but you are everywhere, so let’s all help each other out.” Aza Muzorewa, a member of the Student Leadership & Involvement Center, said he decided to go to the forum because there is a lot going on in our country, especially with respect to relationships between the community and law enforcement, so he wanted to help represent the student body voice. “People always say that the police aren’t doing enough, so these forums give students an opportunity to be here and see what the candidates have to say,” Muzorewa said. Muzorewa said he liked what Hughes had to say, and appreciated the answers he gave about police policies on campus. “He addressed my concerns about his policy behind dealing with emergency situations on campus, but whether it is him or whoever gets elected, I believe actions speak louder than words,” Muzorewa said. “I think enacting what they say and having that reflect our campus is the biggest thing.” A member in the crowd asked Hughes what major changes he would enact if he were to be elected. “I have heard a lot of great things about the department already,” Hughes said. “I want to address any problems we have, but I also don’t want to change too much too fast because that can cause problems and anxiety.” Hughes said he sees some opportunity for campus-wide Clery training, which helps to make campuses safer, and thinks there is a chance to make Clery responses a campus-wide responsibility. “I would take a real close look at what I call the high liability areas, and see what kinds of changes can be made and suggest changes in those first before I make any other major decisions,” Hughes said.