New Interim Chief of Police seeks to focus on campus safety, education, growth

Utah Tech University welcomes Wes LiCalzi as the Interim Chief of Police and the Director of Public Safety Jan. 2. Improving student relationships and education is one of his main objectives as he teaches and trains students in his S.A.F.E. course on physical self-defense. Cora Mark | Sun News Daily

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Wes LiCalzi was sworn in as interim Chief of Police for Utah Tech University Jan. 2, replacing Ron Bridge who retired after five years with the campus police.

LiCalzi started his year in law enforcement in 2008. He has worked with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington City Police, Springdale Police and Utah Tech University.

LiCalzi has many goals to create a safer campus and a better police department. Some improvements include better technology and more staff.

“There are a few technology things that I want to bring in to hopefully help the communication between officers,” LiCalzi said.

One of his biggest goals is to improve education and relationships between students. Currently, he teaches the S.A.F.E. class, which aims to help educate and train faculty, staff and students on how to defend themselves.

“I think with more knowledge, people can see when something doesn’t seem right,” LiCalzi said. “I know that we have the means at the university to spread that knowledge very well.”

Another goal LiCalzi has is to boost officer relationships between students, and many sergeants hope to help with these goals.

Sergeant Juan Fulgencio said, “My hope is that I can continue to help the department grow and provide the best kind of police work that we think is needed for the university.”

Fulgencio has worked with Utah Tech for five years, and LiCalzi is the third chief he has worked with.

“He’s really knowledgeable, and I think it really helps that we used to work here, so he’s seen it [the police department] at a lower level,” Fulgencio said. “Now he knows what changes need to be made.”

Many of LiCalzi’s plans include campus safety and education around sexual assault, and he hopes to make this campus safer for all students.

Teresa Starnes, police records administrator and victim advocate for the police department, said: “He [LiCalzi] gets along with everyone here in the office. I think he knows that he has support behind him.”

LiCalzi has made it his goal to have transparency between his staff members and seek their feedback on changes he plans to make, which is appreciated by all members.

“He’s always looking for other people’s input and their insight, which is really cool,” Starnes said. “It’s his decision at the end of the day, but I have full trust in him.”

The current concern LiCalzi has is the completion of Campus View III and needing more officers to keep up with the growth of the campus.

“My main concern is that we have enough people,” LiCalzi said. “We can’t deny that we have to move with the trends, so my plan is to keep expanding.”

He also hopes to expand the current officers’ training and equipment.

“I have a solid group of guys that have good experience and great training, and we just need to keep expanding on all of that,” LiCalzi said.

LiCalzi cares deeply about his job, and it is reflected in his department and his goals.

“I always thought that, in my opinion, it was the closest thing to being a superhero in your life,” LiCalzi said. “I’ve always told people that my superpower is that I care.”