On Feb. 15, Anthony Morgan began his first shift as the new police chief at Humboldt State. He is a decorated chief, bringing with him more than 15 years in the police force in different states around the country.
Seeing that his children were getting older, Morgan realized that he wanted to provide opportunities for them educationally, and being a university police chief seemed like the natural next move for that. He is satisfied with the university that he settled on, particularly the transparency that it has provided over the years with different ordeals.
“Given my skill set, there was an opportunity there for me to come into this space and work with everyone to improve transparency, improve safety on campus, work with a team of professionals in my department, and serve the student body,” Morgan said.
One of the people involved in the selection process for the new police chief was Sherie Gordon, interim vice president for administration and finance. For her, she was glad to know that everything worked out regarding how everyone from the search committee to the greater campus community was unified in liking Chief Morgan.
“In this case, the stars aligned and I will tell you after his first eight or nine days on the job, it’s actually been really refreshing,” Gordon said. “So it just reaffirmed that what the campus thought, the committee thought, and even myself in making that decision and appointing Chief Morgan that he’s the right fit for us in where we are at this juncture at Humboldt State.”
Gordon recognized the fact that Morgan is the first Black police chief at HSU and is thankful for the combined efforts of her colleagues in creating a diverse working environment.
“I think it’s a testament of the work that collectively, this institution has made with putting in strategies around emphasizing recruitment of diverse candidates and not just limited to a person of color but women and diverse backgrounds,” Gordon said. “We are checking biases in these meetings and we’re open to new thoughts and perspective and leaders, whether it’s their gender, their professional affiliation, or just the depth and breadth of experience.”
A major factor in Morgan’s decision to enter the world of policing was when he was a kid and witnessed a DARE officer that was oddly enough also a Black man named Anthony Morgan.
“It was amazing for me to see a black officer in his uniform like that interacting that way,” Morgan said. “And I hope, to some extent, I can do that for others.”
Being the new police chief, Morgan has an agenda. One of the first items on his list is a firm commitment to community service, specifically within his own department.
“One of the first goals that I want to get implemented here is ensuring that both internally and externally, we’re treating everyone with dignity and respect,” Morgan said. “And from a culture standpoint inside the organization, we’re getting back to being a team, and so from an internal perspective, really working on the team dynamic that we have.”
A second major goal for Morgan is ensuring that the product or service that is being delivered by his men and women meets student needs.
“A little bit of that is collaborating with the Associated Students on what this new restructuring within the organization that we’re working on is going to look like,” Morgan said. “Working through the process of implementing 21st-century policing, pillars within the foundation of the organization, improving technology within the organization.”
Josefina Barrantes is a senior finishing up her undergraduate degree in political science and also in the environment and community master’s program. A member of Associated Students, she is hopeful that the arrival of Chief Morgan will breathe new life into UPD, but still has reservations about the police department as a whole due to a current officer remaining on the job even after clearly displaying police brutality several years ago.
“I would like to see Officer Delmar Tompkins fired and I would like to see that set a precedent for hiring and who they hire on the police force if UPD is to exist,” Barrantes said. “More than that, I would like to see them being schooled on decolonization and multiple other areas of intersectionality.”