Central Michigan University’s Police Department employs over 20 officers. <span class='image-credits'>Gabrielle Haiderer</span>

CMU's new police chief is dedicated to engaging community partners in campus safety

It’s all about teamwork for Lt. Larry Klaus, who was recently named Central Michigan University’s next Chief of Police. Klaus has been with the CMU Police Department since 2011, joining their ranks after serving 25 years with the Lansing Police Department.

 

“Most of my family attended CMU… so it’s important to me personally that we keep this campus community safe and I’m going to be passionate about doing that,” says Klaus.

 

CMU’s Chief of Police Bill Yeagley, who has served the campus as Chief for a decade and been in law enforcement for 41 years, says he has full confidence leaving his position with Klaus.

 

“I think it’s just the right person at the right time for the Chief’s job here,” says Yeagley. “Not only is he passionate about CMU, he’s passionate about people.”
Central Michigan University Chief of Police Bill Yeagley and Lt. Larry Klaus, who will take over as Chief of Police, stand next to a CMU Police Department vehicle.

 

Yeagley explains that Klaus’ passion has been demonstrated through his work to build up partnerships between CMU’s Police Department and various community organizations, such as other law enforcement agencies, Community Mental Health, and, most notably, his work to help reestablish the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program at McLaren Central Michigan. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are registered nurses who have received special training to collect forensic evidence and compassionately care for a patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

 

Yeagley says he remembers Klaus talking to him about how he didn’t want survivors to have to tell their story multiple times or go through more trauma than they have already been through.

 

“We want to make sure, as a police agency, we do an investigation that’s thorough; but, also help the survivor access resources that are good for their wellbeing,” says Klaus.

Beth Nesbitt of the SANE program at McLaren Central Michigan. Says, “Lt. Klaus was instrumental in the development of the hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program. We are very pleased with the appointment of him to Chief of Police for CMU as he is such a champion for survivors of sexual assault."

Klaus has also collaborated with local law enforcement agencies, something that Yeagley has been a champion of in his career at CMU, and that Klaus says he will continue.
Lt. Larry Klaus, who has been with the department since 2011, has been named the new Central Michigan University Chief of Police.

 

“A police department can only be as successful as the level of trust the community has in them,” says Yeagley. “So, these partnerships begin with law enforcement agencies; and, we trust each other in the small events, then we trust each other in the large events.”

One such large event was a day that further solidified Klaus’ belief that community partnerships and teamwork are vital components to public safety – Mar. 2, 2018. On that day, CMU police worked closely with local and state police agencies to apprehend a gunman on campus who had fatally shot two people.

“The community partnerships and relationships matter, and on that day the City of Mount Pleasant, the Isabella County Sherriff’s Office, the Tribal Police, and the State Police – the regional police – response was phenomenal. And in addition, the campus community, and the emergency response,” says Klaus. “Everyone came together to address that situation.”

 

Yeagley added that while law enforcement was focused on its mission of apprehending the suspect, the campus of CMU complimented their efforts by disseminating information in a timely fashion to students and faculty. Strengthening all of these partnership efforts was a team of officers who had been through extensive training with Klaus.

 

“He’s been in charge of our training. He understands what it takes to train a police department – how much resources, how much time,” says Yeagley. “Our police officers do not have to wonder what they have to do, what best practices are.”

Part of that training was done in the CMU Police Department’s MILO Range 180 Theater system, which is an interactive simulator that engages officers in real-life scenarios. The system was installed under Yeagley’s time as chief, and has proven itself a worthy investment as the officers have been able to train for a variety of scenarios that could happen on campus – including active shooter situations.

“Had the officers not had the opportunity to live through that in the simulator, their response would not have been as sharp,” says Yeagley, adding that the simulator is also used by other local law enforcement agencies for training.

Klaus adds, “Without that training, without those partnerships, I don’t think that would have been resolved as quickly as it was."

 

No specific date has been set for Klaus to take over as Chief, but he says he’s thankful Yeagley will continue to be there during the transition.

 

“The Chief’s been an exceptional mentor,” Klaus says. “He’s put this department on a solid foundation and I just want to carry forward a lot of the chief’s visions, and ensure that we’re maintaining our mission of keeping this campus safe.”

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