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June 20, 2024

Trende announced as public safety director

March 23, 2007

After taking the interim Public Safety director position when Mark Kimball announced his retirement four months ago, Dick Trende received the position as Public Safety director March 19.

“Coming from retirement, this position is what drew me out of it,” he said about enjoying the retired life for only six months. “It’s the people on this campus that drew me to a quantum leap out of the luxurious retirement.”

Trende, former Hudson police chief, took the position as interim director in November when the then-director Mark Kimball announced his retirement date would be in the beginning of January. He worked for about a month and a half with Kimball to train and get accustomed to working on a university campus.

It only took a few weeks, Trende said, when he knew he wanted to apply for the director position and stay permanently at UW-River Falls as the Public Safety director.

“The atmosphere here is very pleasant,” he said. “I don’t think I was really ready for retirement.”

Before retirement, Trende said he worked as an officer of the law for over 30 years, and the position at UWRF was a positive change and great opportunity for his career.

“I wanted to see if it was a fit for me and the University,” Trende said. “Luckily, it was a fit for us.”

The timing for the offer as interim director was also right with his career, he said.

“That six months was just a good time to get reenergized, regrouped and start moving,” Trende said.

The position was still open during Kimball’s stint as interim director. A search and screen committee was being formed by the administration to begin the process of receiving applications from possible candidates. The retirement of Kimball landed at an awkward time for the administration, not allowing enough adequate time to find the right person for the director position.

The committee reviewed a total of 35 applications for the director position, said Kristie Feist, east area coordinator for Residence Life.

After a review of all the candidates who fulfilled the requirements in the position description, only four were chosen for an extensive interview process including an entire day on campus interacting with faculty, staff and students, said Mary Halada, vice chancellor for administration and finance.

Out of the four candidates, Halada said any one of them easily could have been given the position.

“We really put them through the ringer,” she said. “But the fact that we’ve been able to get to know Dick over the past few months is advantageous.”

Halada said a few reasons for choosing Trende are his accomplishments since he has been in the interim position, his 30-plus years of experience in law enforcement and the wonderful relationship with the River Falls Police Department and the community.

“He has a strong sense of customer service reputation,” Halada said. “I think it’s a very good fit for us; it really worked well for us that he started in November.”

Feist said she couldn’t comment too much about the impressions of those who evaluated the candidates due to confidentiality, but the process was very competitive and each of the candidates who were invited to campus were received quite well.

“I can’t speak for the entire committee, but as for myself, I am very happy with the selection of Richard Trende as the new director of Public Safety,” she said. “I believe he will be a great advocate for students and represent our campus and community well.”

As the newly announced director, Trende said there are many goals he has set to accomplish, like assessing and evaluating the schedule of the staffed officers on campus.

“The difficulty is the 24-hour, seven days a week,” he said about the obstacles of keeping a well-staffed campus. “We are at our minimum staffed availability with only five full-time officers.”

Public Safety currently only has four of the five positions filled with full-time officers, Trende said, leaving one position being covered by a limited-term officer.

“My goal is to make a determination to make a change or if it’s something we can’t do,” he said.

At this time, Trende said he is working with his staff to assess any changes that might need to be done to allow sufficient and better coverage of officers on campus.

“You always have to work with the employees to get the best you can,” he said. “It’s important to accommodate them as much as you can.”

Most of all, Trende said he simply sees himself as a support mechanism for the campus as director of Public Safety.

The length of his term is unknown, he said, and he will stay at UWRF “as long as it seems good for the University and myself.”

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