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UP chief to lead police association

Last month, University Police (UP) Chief Tom Longo became the first UP chief to be elected president of the Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association.

One of the largest Chiefs of Police Associations in the country, the association comprises most of the law enforcement heads in the Tampa area.

“Our goals are to promote the profession, hold training seminars and also have a scholarship program that we are in the process of reinvigorating now,” Longo said.

Captain Bob Staehle, UP operations commander, said Longo interacts with people in all levels of UP and relates to other agencies at director and chief levels.

“It speaks volumes both for Chief Longo and USF to say that he was the first UP chief to be named president of this association,” he said. “It is putting USF in the spotlight in an arena that would not normally have occurred had it not been for Chief Longo.”

Longo has been working in law enforcement for more than 30 years, a career he began in the military as a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve before he went to college. While in school he transferred to the Army as an intelligence officer, and upon retiring he joined the civilian police force.

Longo has worked with university police departments for 10 years. He began at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and served as assistant police chief at Florida State University before becoming police chief at USF in May 2006.

“(Being a police officer) was a dream I had since I was a kid,” Longo said. “A lot of kids grow up with a dream of becoming a cop or a firefighter, but it stuck with me.”

Longo said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who had been a police officer in the military.

“He had a health problem that kept him from realizing his full potential,” he said. “It was a natural thing for me to go into it, and I’ve been with it ever since.”

As police chief, Longo oversees the police department, including the 911 center. He also orchestrates all the patrol cars and uniformed officers on campus, including traffic enforcement and DUI checkpoints.

After receiving his bachelor’s in political science from Eckerd College, getting a certificate in criminal justice education and earning a master’s in public policy from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Longo still dedicated to learning.

While serving as police chief, he is also writing his doctoral dissertation for law, which he hopes one day to use to begin a post-retirement career in   teaching law.

At the conclusion of Longo’s one-year term as president, he will remain on the association’s Board of Directors.

“I’m honored to be elected to this position of trust in the Tampa Bay area,” he said. “I think this demonstrates the high regard our law enforcement peers have for the USF Police Department, and the importance of the University in our community.”