Three candidates apply for the new OUPD Chief of Police position, discuss qualifications

The search is on: candidates are applying for the position of Oakland University Police Department Chief of Police. The current chief, Samuel C. Lucido, had been scheduled to go into retirement on Jan. 3, 2014, but the nationwide search for his replacement has only just now come to fruition.

A committee has narrowed it down to three candidates, each of which spoke at a series of open forum discussions designed to involve the campus community in the interviewing process. The forums were held on March 3, March 7 and March 11, respectively.

Captain Mark Gordon, Oakland University

Current Duties: Gordon is captain for the Oakland University Police Department, acting as second-in-command under Lucido. Duties include labor negotiations, media relations, oversight of data collection and parking system management.

Employment History: Beginning in 1988, Gordon worked as a police officer of the OUPD for ten years, during three of which he also worked part-time at the Oxford Michigan Police Department. In 1998 he became the OUPD Patrol Sergeant. He was OUPD’s first Field Training Officer and remained Patrol Sergeant until being promoted to Administrative Lieutenant in 2005 and then captain in 2008.

Education: Gordon has an associate degree in criminal justice from Oakland Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business management from Baker College and a master’s in business administration from Baker. He is also a graduate of the School of Police Staff and Command.

Goals/Philosophy: Gordon, who says he wants to get more involved in athletics and housing, says his focus is on building community relationships. “Community policing is the only way you can police a campus,” Gordon said at the forum. “Make partnerships to fight crime.” He also says he would like to have active shooter education seminars for faculty.

Why pick me? “I have served the Oakland University community for my entire career and consider the opportunity to continue serving the university in an expanded role quite exciting,” Gordon wrote in the application letter that was shared via email. He also said at the forum that he is “very well suited to where we are and where we are going.”

Captain Penny Fischer, Michigan State University

Current Duties: Fischer is captain at the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety, where she serves as the special events division commander, working with campus facilities such as the athletic department and housing services. She is an adjunct professor at the MSU College of Law and a part-time instructor at the MSU School of Criminal Justice.

Employment History: Fischer has been working in law enforcement since 1981 when she began as a part-time patrol officer in Coopersville. She has been a practicing attorney in Michigan since 1995 and has been working at the MSU police department since 1987. She was promoted to captain in March 2013.

Education: Fischer has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Grand Valley State University, a master’s in criminal justice from MSU, a juris doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a doctorate of philosophy in criminal justice from MSU.

Goals/Philosophy: Fischer says she believes in an open, collective form of leadership, saying that one “can’t lead in isolation. My job is to know each and every one of you.” Fischer also says she is aware of Oakland’s current changes and is not afraid of that change, which can bring her closer to community members. “Change is a constant in my world,” Fischer said.

Why pick me? “Oakland University is an institution that is growing in concert with the needs of Michigan and I would like to be a part of that future leadership,” Fischer wrote in her application letter. At her forum Fischer said that achieving community policing is like baking a cake, and that her being chief would give officers the skills to perform this policing and “build a cake we all want to eat.”

Senior Lieutenant Paul A. Mascari, Marquette University

Current Duties: Mascari is the senior lieutenant and interim associate director at Marquette University’s Department of Public Safety, where he has worked since 2004 and held numerous leadership roles. He oversees numerous operations, units and programs and works with other departments and administrators regularly.

Employment History: Mascari joined the U.S. Marine Corps from 1997 to 2002. He worked as a Sergeant for the General Security Services Corporation from 2002 to 2003 before moving to Marquette in 2004. Mascari has been a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve since 2011.

Education: Mascari has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s in public service with specialization in criminal justice administration from Marquette and a graduate certificate in law enforcement leadership and management from Marquette. He is an active member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association and regularly attends conferences and training on campus law enforcement and police training.

Goals/Philosophy: Mascari says he firmly believes in collaboration and that a university police department must work with other areas and people in and around campus. “Sometimes police departments can be unapproachable,” Mascari said at the forum. “It doesn’t sound like the case here. That’s definitely something I would continue.”

Why pick me? “If given the opportunity, I would bring the same dedication and commitment to excellence I have demonstrated at Marquette to Oakland University,” Mascari wrote in his application letter. At the forum Mascari said he has had a lot of experience dealing with change and could handle the many changes Oakland is dealing with. “Change is always going to happen,” Mascari said. “And when it rains, it pours. You can’t put everything on pause; you can’t be afraid to make some decisions.”

For questions or extensive review of each candidate’s application materials email [email protected] or [email protected].