Leibold finds UWO challenging, inspirational

Haley Walters

Kurt Leibold rounded out the first week of candidates vying for the position of UW Oshkosh Police Chief when he came to discuss his experiences in the city of Milwaukee and how it would coincide with his goals for UWO at an open forum Friday. Leibold is the assistant chief of police on Milwaukee’s police force and oversees the Central Command Bureau, its $3.8 million budget and 600 employees. With 26 years of experience, Leibold is the longest-serving police official of the five candidates being considered for the position. His career has been spent serving Milwaukee in various positions within the police department. “There’s no other place I could go besides chief of police in Milwaukee,” Leibold said. “To be perfectly honest, I don’t want that job…I want to be inspired again in my life.” Leibold said the greatest tool when fighting and preventing crime is community policing and vigilance, something he worked to improve in Milwaukee. “Community policing requires relationships to be made between internal and external stakeholders in the participation of establishing and running a legitimate operation,” Leibold said. “That means the policies of the police department should be vetted through the student body.” Leibold said if he could pick his own job, UWO would be his first choice due to the potential for great community policing. “I could walk into the door at a city P.D. and hit the ground running — it’s what I do” Leibold said. “I can’t say that about [Oshkosh]. It’s going to challenge me and I’ll need the help of everyone here to get me through that.” University Police officer Sonny Gogo said Leibold made a strong presentation within a competitive pool of applicants, even as concerns were raised by audience members over trust between existing police officers and the possibility of a new chief coming in from another city. “Trust is big,” Gogo said. “In law enforcement, you have nothing but trust.” UWO student Aza Muzorewa said Leibold seemed like a strong candidate for consideration, and students should pay more attention to the selection process especially in light of police brutality issues throughout the country. “It’s easy to say you don’t like the police,” Muzorewa said. “This is a chance for students to speak up about what they want to see at the University.” Leibold said he is certain about what he wants to see at the University, and plans to work with students and UP to make it happen. “My vision is to make this university police department the best in the nation for a university this size,” Leibold said. “I want other universities to come here and look at what we’re doing and [ask] why it’s working so well.” The police chief candidate forums are held to get student feedback for each candidate. The search committee takes this into consideration.