New officer to change image of Kent police department

Brittany Macchiarola

Michquel Penn said she has wanted to change the negative image of police officers since she was a girl in junior high growing up on the east side of Cleveland.

She will now have the opportunity to achieve her goal as the new Community Resource Officer (C.R.O.) for the Kent State Police Department.

“Over the years, I began noticing the negative image police officers had within the community I grew up in,” Penn said. “I wanted to change that perception by making a difference in the lives of others in a positive way.”

KSUPD Staff Lt. William Buckbee and the Associate Director of Public Safety Dean Tondiglia both had a hand in creating the new C.R.O. position.

“My whole vision for this position was having Michquel be the face of the Kent State police,” Buckbee said. “If people think of Kent State, one of the people they’ll think of is Michquel.”

The C.R.O. position was created to “explore ways to enhance and coordinate our proactive measures to problem solve, educate the community and reduce crime and disorder,” Tondiglia said in an e-mail.

He said that increased staffing allowed them to assign someone to the position.

“We chose Michquel for the position because she has all the right characteristics for the job,” Buckbee said. “She is talented, energetic, and she can identify with both the students and the faculty and staff.”

As the new C.R.O., Penn will be in charge of overseeing all community-policing efforts, Buckbee said. She will also be responsible for crime analysis, crime prevention, surveying citizens and serving as a media contact.

Buckbee said her first plan of action is to go out and start talking and getting involved with the students and faculty at the university. She is also going to meet with other C.R.O.s to find out what has worked well for them at their universities.

Penn is already involved in the Destination Kent State and Upward Bound programs, but she said she’d like to get more involved with the First Year Experience Program. She said she wants to offer more safety-related courses to students such as “Recognizing and Responding to Unusual, Disruptive and Threatening Behavior.”

“She has room to make the job hers,” Buckbee said. “She is kind of a pioneer here for us in that regard.”

Contact safety reporter Brittany Macchiarola at [email protected].