Interim chief Robert Richardson and Interim Lieutenant Steve Dickey have been working together in the Marian University Police Department for well over a decade, and they are having a blast—because they love what they do and because they also happen to like each other. It could also be that the job is just so darn easy….
That is a joke, of course, but they both do agree that if it seems easy, then they are doing it right.
“It may seem like a slow day on campus, but that doesn’t mean it’s been a slow day,” said Dickey.
The Marian University Police Department’s (MUPD) main responsibility is safety and service on campus, but keeping predators off campus requires playing a key role in the surrounding community as well.
They are often first responders or called to assist as backup in the neighborhoods nearby. “It always helps to have a presence and be known off-campus. There is a level of respect achieved when the community knows we mean business and that the path of least resistance is not on this 40 acres,” Dickey explained.
Richardson and Dickey are proud to represent Marian University, and they strive to be worthy of an institution they both care very much about.
“We are trying to get this department to the same level that academics and athletics are here. I want the police department to be recognized as successful as the university is, to be respected beyond just this neighborhood,” Richardson says.
The duo agrees that the best way to achieve respect is to show respect.
So they go to all the student orientations and introduce themselves. They explain the rules. And then they go out and socialize with these kids who come from many different backgrounds—where police officers may have been appreciated or hated and feared.
“You learn to treat people with respect and meet them where they’re at,” said Richardson, who knows many of the students by name and has earned their trust.
“The rapport we have with students on campus is invaluable. It makes the job so much easier,” said Richardson, “We’re not threatening,” says the degreed Black Belt, who relies more on compassion than physical prowess.
Richardson’s ease with students can likely be attributed to his years as an officer with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and to his own experience as a kid.
“To be honest, I didn’t live in the greatest neighborhood, but there was an officer who was very kind and showed me the right way. There was a resource officer in my high school who made a big difference for me and a lot of others,” said Richardson, “He told us that if you want to make change, then be a part of the change.”
That became Richardson’s driving force. He graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 2000 and went to work for IPS for 15 years. During that time he also started at Marian University for the additional income, before joining MUPD full-time.
Dickey found his positive role model and law enforcement influence in his father who was a sheriff’s deputy.
“I always appreciated how he took pride in what he did, polishing his shoes and leather, the discipline and camaraderie,” said Dickey, who originally followed a different path and worked as a supervisor at Rolls-Royce.
“I was making six figures, but when my dad mentioned that I could continue to work there but also train to become a reserve officer, I was intrigued and went for it,” said Dickey.
After years of reserve work in Marion and Johnson Counties and then the town of Homecroft, Dickey finally transitioned to full-time law enforcement, joining MUPD in 2010.
Richardson and Dickey think people may be surprised to learn how much joy they find in their jobs. “Steve is a joy to work with, and I look forward to coming to work, because we always find a way to have fun,” said Richardson.
You could say they’re invested. In fact, they love Marian University so much they are planning a campus-wide lip sync project that will showcase campus, its people and energy. Anyone interested can contact either officer.
From unlocks and jump starts to the occasional theft, Officers Richardson and Dickey have you covered and are definitely who you want to call. (Lip sync sign-up is optional.)