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Trende anticipates changes at UWRF

February 5, 2007

Last November former Hudson Police Chief Dick Trende became the new UW-River Falls interim public safety director.

UWRF Director of General Services Thomas Weiss originally approached Trende about the position, knowing he was well qualified.

Trende worked for the Hudson Police Department for 34 years after graduating from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minn. in 1972. He started as a patrol officer and detective sergeant. He was promoted to chief of police in 1993 after attending a semester at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Trende retired from the Hudson Police Department in May of 2006 with the intention of returning to the work force.

In November, Trende was hired as the Interim Public Safety Director at UWRF. He is openly embracing his new position as a learning experience, but has already set clear goals for what he wants to accomplish in the department. His main objectives are to observe current practices and make recommendations that will make them better.

“A lot of it is fine tuning the operations we have, and deciding if they are correct in what they do or not,” Trende said.

He is in charge of determining the way operations are run in the department. This includes, but is not limited to, the budgeting process, training of employees, assessment of the department’s equipment and the evaluation of procedures.

“If there is a final decision on anything in Public Safety, it comes through me,” he said.

One addition he has already brought to the department is a UWRF-Public Safety Citizen Complaint Form. This form gives UWRF citizens an opportunity to voice a formal complaint in writing, which was previously unavailable. The complaint goes directly to Trende where it is further investigated with the goal of a resolution. An online version is also anticipated in the near future. These forms can be found outside the Public Safety office in the basement of South Hall.

Trende is also concerned about staffing in the department. There are currently four full-time and three part-time Public Safety officers. He believes there is room to add more officers in order to adequately staff events and provide coverage for current officer’s vacation, days off and sick time.

His primary goals for the staff are proper training and professionalism. He values his interaction with the officers and other staff members.

“It’s a lot of responsibility they have, and you try to support them in any way you can,” Trende said.

Public Safety Officer Adam Balow said he and Trende talk a lot about policies and what they can do to improve the department.

“We talk about which direction the department is heading as a whole,” Balow said.

Trende sees parking and underage drinking as the most common issues that the department must address.

He believes that people need to recognize what the rules are for parking on campus, and understand that the rules exist to make sure needs are met. He said students and officers who enforce parking regulations do it ethically.

“If you don’t enforce parking regulations it will get out of control,” Trende said.

When it comes to underage drinking he is most concerned about alcohol abuse, which he believes can lead to criminal conduct and chemical dependency.

“You have bad habits that start and that often leads to bad decisions,” he said.

Trende understands that the department relies heavily on relationships with the students and the community as a whole.

“It’s my hope that it’s a positive relationship,” he said.

Trende looks forward to continuing his learning process and hopes to be chosen by UWRF administration as the permanent Public Safety Director.