When University Police Chief Thomas Longo accepted his position at USF, he wanted to make the department a more prominent aspect of the University.

Budget cuts and prolonged negotiations between UP and USF over funding and wages made that a difficult task to achieve.

There is now reason to celebrate for both USF and UP as Longo was elected vice president of the Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association (TBCPA). The organization represents more than 40 law enforcement agencies in six counties surrounding Tampa.

It is a prestigious honor and clearly illustrates that USF has a well-respected and intelligent police chief and representative to other important local agencies.

His dedication to the safety and success of UP has been evidenced in his actions during his 19 months with USF.

Longo sent a 10-page memo to head of Student Affairs Jennifer Meningall on Nov. 6, 2006 expressing his concerns about the state of on-campus security. The memo, which can be found on Tampabays10.com, detailed patrols that could not be scheduled and the difficulties in training executive officers with the lack of funding.

Longo later sent a memo to President Genshaft and Trustee Lee Arnold on Nov. 28, 2006 providing his feedback on USF’s strategic plan. Longo was insistent on including more language about school security, and the memo included much of the same information as the one Longo provided Meningall.

His action was not limited there. He sent e-mails, found on Tampabays10.com, which kept Meningall and other officials up to date on various incidents that captured how thinly spread UP was. He also chronicled the department’s hemorrhaging police force, which featured many officers who were leaving to seek better opportunities elsewhere.

A year later, USF’s response to the warnings of its UP chief was to hire Hallcrest Systems, Inc., an external security consultant. Their report, which cost USF $13,000, repeated much of the same information that Longo had shared for free.

It is unfortunate that when budget cuts and payroll debates are halting the progress of UP that USF felt it necessary to spend the time and resources double checking its own police chief.

Longo is a quality representative for both the school and the department and his selection as vice president of TBPCA is evidence that he is well respected by his peers. It should be comforting to know that if there are any further questions regarding the requirements needed to have a successful police department, USF already has a qualified expert on staff.