University Police select new Downtown campus commander
The ASU Police Department filled its Downtown campus commander position Feb. 20, selecting 13-year veteran Christopher Speranza.
The department accepted applications for six months from qualifying officers, said interim Assistant Police Chief Richard Wilson, who held the position prior to Speranza.
Wilson said Speranza’s experience within the department set him apart from the other applicants.
“He knows what’s required of the position,” Wilson said. “He requires the ability to work and really navigate across a broad spectrum.”
After more than a decade as a University police officer, Speranza rose through the ranks and took many leadership roles. He spent five years as sergeant for the Criminal Investigations Bureau, the University’s detectives unit.
Before becoming a sergeant, Speranza was also a field-training officer instructing the department’s new recruits.
“It’s a big adjustment,” he said. “Just from getting to know the building to getting to know the staff and … seeing what it is that the police department can do to better the campus community.”
Speranza also served as interim commander at the West campus in 2009 and 2010, which he said gave him the best experience as a commanding officer.
“You’re getting to know who’s in charge of what, you filter that and then you bring it down to your troops as a commander,” he said. “But most definitely it kind of helped me get into this position.”
Speranza said although he is enjoying his new position, he does miss the hands-on experience he got as a sergeant of investigations.
He said the most difficult change has been stepping back and giving guidance rather than being out in the field.
Speranza said he hopes to continue working closely with the Phoenix Police Department and to centralize efforts between University Police, Residential Life and Judicial Affairs in solving issues around the Downtown campus.
“That’s one thing I’d really like to accomplish, and I know we’ve been moving toward that direction, but I would like to further that,” he said.
Phoenix Police spokesman James Holmes said ASU Police and Phoenix Police have had a great working relationship, especially because crime does spill onto the Downtown campus.
“I hope he can continue relations with us because we work well together,” Holmes said.
Wilson said he and the Downtown campus police department are hopeful that Speranza will continue positive interactions with other law enforcement.
“He has the ability to work with the ASU community and Phoenix Police,” Wilson said. “We’re confident that he will continue to sustain those relationships.”
Reach the reporter at sraymund@asu.