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Central Washington University

CWU to honor campus Police, officer for being named region’s best

On Monday, November 19, CWU’s University Police and Public Safety will be honored for being named the Western Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (WACLEA) Department of the Year for 2018. 

At its recent annual conference in Kennewick, the largest regional association of campus police organizations made the surprise announcement to the university, and a second one to CWU Officer Pete Ross, who was named WACLEA’s 2018 Officer of the Year Award.

“This is a great reflection of the hard work University Police has been doing and serves as a testament to their support of our students,” said Andreas Bohman, vice president for CWU Operations, which oversees University Police and Public Safety. “It really solidifies the excellent work being done to promote a safe campus and safe community. It’s very well deserved.”

In addition, Bohman said Ross’s recognition “embodies the positive direction the department has taken” under the leadership of CWU Police Chief Jason Berthon-Koch, who was just appointed to the post in January, but has already advanced a fresh perspective and instilled innovative measures to campus law enforcement resulting in a more approachable, receptive department.

The approach is working. The Associated Students of Central Washington University (ASCWU) nominated CWU Police and Public Safety for the award to recognize the department’s outreach efforts.

“We really appreciate everything the department does for students,” said ASCWU President Edith Rojas. “We submitted the nomination as a way of thanking them for creating a safe environment for Central’s students, staff, and faculty.”

Berthon-Koch added, “It’s all about providing a secure learning environment through education and enforcement. If you notice, ‘enforcement’ is the second part, but education is the first part. Being an educational institution, as a department, we also need to fall in line with institutional goals by providing education to our students.”

He adds that education centers on making sure CWU students know how to ensure their personal safety—such as hosting classes on how to install tire chains on their vehicles for winter driving.

The Officer of the Year award to Ross, a 15-year-member of the force, was made in recognition of his leadership within the department and his positive rapport with the community and his supervisors.

“I was surprised,” Ross admitted about the award. “I heard about [the award] as they were announcing it—I had no idea I was even nominated. I feel that I’m just doing what’s asked of me. Every day, I get to interact with the public--on their worst days and on their best days. Either way, helping people is something I enjoy.”

CWU Operations will host the honoring ceremony for Ross and Police and Public Safety, in the university’s Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom, between noon and 2:00 p.m. Bohman will officially honor the department and Ross during a presentation set for 12:30 p.m. Light refreshments and desserts will be available at the event.

The nonprofit WACLEA represents campus police and security at higher-education institutions in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and British Columbia, Canada.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

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