The University Police Department has officially welcomed aboard its new police chief, a lieutenant and several rank-and-file officers at a “badge-pinning” ceremony attended by family, friends and co-workers of the officers.
During the event on April 21, the officers, lieutenant and chief were presented with their badges, which were then pinned onto their uniforms by a family member or someone of their choosing. The ceremony is highly symbolic and meaningful to members of law enforcement, although it has no administrative significance; all of those honored were already members of the department.
Police Chief Dario Robinson was the first to receive his badge, which was presented by University President Soraya M. Coley. She touted Robinson, an alumnus who returned to the university as its police chief in January, as a good example of how a campus police department should interact with the community.
“I’m reminded of a story. There was a student struggling to carry books or other equipment, and didn’t seem like he was going to make it to his destination,” Coley said. “So here comes the chief and says, ‘Can I help?’ So of course the student was stunned. It exemplified the character and the values that are embedded and part of the police force and the chief that we are fortunate to have.”
Robinson’s badge was pinned by his wife, Kristin. The new chief then offered a tribute to outgoing Interim Chief Bruce Wilson, who he said inspired him to enter law enforcement. He recalled how, as a student, he saw Wilson walk into the campus weight room one day while he was working out.
“For years I always remembered that police officer and thought, ‘Man, he was just so squared up,’ ” Robinson said. “I always kind of wanted deep down to be like him. Here we are 30 years later and I’m replacing the man who I always thought I wanted to be like.”
The other individuals who received their badges were:
- Aaron Eaton: Eaton has 23 years of experience in law enforcement, eight with the Montclair Police Department and 15 with Long Beach Police Department. In Long Beach, he was promoted to sergeant, and held positions that included detective sergeant, patrol watch commander and public relations liaison.
- Officer Howard Brown: Brown graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2012 and worked for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department as a custody specialist until he was hired by Cal Poly Pomona as a police cadet in 2015.
- Officer Kevin Gutierrez: Gutierrez graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering technology in 2014. During his time as a student at Cal Poly Pomona, he worked as a community service officer for the university. He also graduated from the Fullerton College police academy in 2014.
- Officer Christine Hall: Hall graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a sociology degree before obtaining her juris doctor from California Southern Law School. She worked for the Pauma Tribal Police, Hemet Police Department, UC Riverside campus police, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and as an investigator for the Department of Social Services.
- Officer Tommy Yu: Yu graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a bachelor’s in biology and a minor in chemistry. He served as a police officer at Cal State Long Beach for eight years, and will soon receive his master’s in public policy administration from the same university.