BOWLING GREEN — When Monica Moll was sworn in as the new police chief at Bowling Green State University earlier this week, a contingent from Kent State University was in attendance.
Chief Moll, 36, began her police career at Kent State in 1996, rose to the rank of lieutenant, and apparently left her mark.
"Monica is a rather special officer with this department," said Kent State Police Chief John Peach, who hired her when she was fresh out of the police academy at age 21. "It was not I alone that made the trip [to Bowling Green] but a number of other officers and nonpolice administrators who have had a very close professional relationship with her and really think and speak highly of her."
Chief Moll replaces Jim Wiegand, who worked as police chief and director of public safety at BGSU for 12 years after retiring from a 28-year career with the Toledo Police Division. Unlike Mr. Wiegand, her experience is entirely as a campus police officer and, as a woman working on a doctorate degree in public safety and political science, she may be the most educated university police chief in Ohio.
She has an associate's degree in criminal justice and a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Akron as well as a master's in public administration from Kent State. She taught a course in policing at Kent as an adjunct professor and taught at police academies in northeast Ohio.
Chief Moll, who also will oversee the parking department, the student escort program, and the campus shuttle service, said she doesn't expect to teach in Bowling Green.
"I love to teach. It's just probably going to be hard to find the time to do all of those extra things," she said. "I was on the SWAT team for nine years at Kent State and got to do a lot of extra things that are going to be hard to do in this position, but I certainly would like to get back to teaching someday."
Sheri Stoll, BGSU's chief financial officer, said the selection committee was impressed with Chief Moll's background and experience with the KSU police department, "a really top-notch campus policing program."
"She just really brings the whole package," Ms. Stoll said. "… I'm really hopeful that in five, 10 years when people think of the go-to place in northwest Ohio for police officers, that first place they'll think of is BGSU."
Chief Moll, who will be paid $98,000 a year, said she is eager to bring BGSU police to a "more current model of policing" and plans to enhance its community policing program and formalize the crisis intervention training for officers. She also intends to begin working toward gaining accreditation for the department through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement.
Accreditation means "the community can be assured you're a good department," she explained. "It's an outside agency coming in and saying they're doing everything that would be considered best practices in the country."
She said that while Kent State is larger than BGSU, she anticipates the type of complaints that her 21 officers will respond to will be much the same as she dealt with in Kent — "usually things that result from drugs, alcohol, and mental health issues."
She said campus police officers must strike a delicate balance between being prepared to handle serious crime while knowing it doesn't happen too frequently.
"The trick is you've got to be good at handling the routine stuff that is always going to happen in any college environment no matter how safe it is, but you have to have a police force that is also able to respond to serious sexual assaults, shooter situations, all the more serious things you hope and pray never happen but we all know can happen in the safest communities," Chief Moll said. "The trick is to have a very friendly, service-oriented department that's very good at handling the routine things that happen on a college campus but also is very professional and ready to respond at a moment's notice to the more serious things that could happen."
Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade,com or 419-724-6129.