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UWRF chief of police retires

April 4, 2014

Chief of University Police Dick Trende, who has worked in law enforcement for 42 years, retired from his position Friday, March 28.

His presence at UW-River Falls has significantly impacted campus security and his absence will bring changes to University Police. Throughout his career at UWRF, Trende improved campus safety in a number of ways, including preventing crime and providing extensive training programs for officers on campus.

Right is Dick Trende swearing in new officers with Chancellor Dean Van Galen Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Right is Dick Trende swearing in new officers with Chancellor Dean Van Galen Tuesday,
Feb. 4. Trende retired Friday, March 28, after 42 years of service. (Desi Danforth/Student Voice)

Before working at UWRF, Trende was Hudson police chief. In 2006, he was asked to serve as interim director of public safety at UWRF and his position eventually turned into a permanent career.

“I loved working at the university, but it simply was the right time to go,” Trende said.

He also played a large role in facilitating the transition from having security officers to having licensed police officers on campus in 2009. University Police officials now have more extensive training and can follow up on emergencies.

“We became a better resource for the campus and the city,” Trende said.

Officer Steven Nygaard was the first to be officially sworn into the role as officer. There are now six officers on campus, Nygaard said.

“I have seen a change in types of crime. UWRF has become a safer environment,” Nygaard said.

In addition to helping develop a highly trained police force, Trende collaborated with other individuals to provide a behavioral intervention team for at-risk individuals. The team prevents crime by providing help and resources to those experiencing issues with suicide or chemicals, for example.

“The service I provided was with integrity,” Trende said.

Throughout his career, he has also been an advocate for equal opportunity in the law enforcement field. He has made an effort to include an equal amount of males and females in his police force.

“The perception of some people is that women can’t do the job. They can,” Trende said.

A new police chief is expected to be hired at the end of the month, but until then Michael Stifter, director of facilities management, will oversee operations. The final three candidates were interviewed this week and include Scott McCullough, from the UW-La- Crosse Police Department, Karl Fluery, from the UW-Green Bay Police Department and Sharon Verges, Thorp Police Chief.

“All three candidates came with a lot of background in law enforcement,” Nygaard said.

Nygaard said he hopes the new police chief will support further improvements to the department, including expanding resources and technology available to officers. He also said he hopes a fresh perspective will provide insights to obtaining funding for specific projects, like an improved computer system for recording crime on campus.

Trende said he intends to maintain an active lifestyle, continue to serve his community and expand upon his faith after his retirement. He plans to go on a mission trip this summer to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Trende also offered advice to those just starting their careers: “Approach whatever you are doing with a positive attitude and make the best of it.”