Ferris State DPS Chief Set to Retire

Crime statistics have steadily declined during Bledsoe’s tenure

by Published: Jan 16, 2013

Ferris State Department of Public Safety Chief Bledsoe will retire this month after over nine years of duty on cam­pus and 40 years total in law enforcement.

“There are always humor­ous cases, and oth­ers that are heart­break­ing to recall in this line of work,” Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe, who is an advo­cate for polic­ing with a prag­matic approach, had some­times assigned writ­ten essays in lieu of mon­e­tary fines for erratic dri­vers on cam­pus. These occur­rences help alle­vi­ate any finan­cial bur­den to stu­dents and at the same time get the mes­sage across.

“With a cou­ple of excep­tions, stu­dents have taken the essay route with an appre­ci­ated result,” Bledsoe said.

According to Bledsoe, DPS needed to raise the stan­dard of police work after mul­ti­ple sex­ual assaults and armed rob­bery instances were reported prior to his arrival in 2003.

In the annual crime report con­cern­ing 2012, num­bers not yet avail­able for the gen­eral pub­lic, Ferris has seen a decrease of over 40 per­cent per capita in the over­all crime fig­ures sum­mat­ing Chief Bledsoe’s tenure.

In 2002, there were over 800 crim­i­nal griev­ances inves­ti­gated ver­sus 547 last year. The uni­ver­sity has seen a drop in arrests by 46 per­cent per 1,000 peo­ple in the years span­ning from 2002, the year prior to Bledsoe’s arrival, until 2012.

To stu­dents’ sat­is­fac­tion, DPS has seen a 60 per­cent decrease in park­ing tick­ets issued dur­ing the same span of time. A mind-boggling 33,340 park­ing tick­ets were issued in 2002 com­pared to over 13,000 yel­low slips handed out last year.

However, over the past year, crim­i­nal com­plaints inves­ti­gated by DPS raised by 4 per­cent, a total num­ber barely under 550.

“Marty [Bledsoe] is a great men­tor and a wealth of knowl­edge,” Captain James Cook said.

Cook will take the helm of police chief on an interim sta­tus. The uni­ver­sity is actively inter­view­ing Cook and oth­ers for the full-time posi­tion, accord­ing to Cook. No timetable for an announce­ment by the uni­ver­sity is known.

Both Bledsoe and Cook spear­headed a cam­paign to improve pedes­trian safety and deter dis­tracted dri­ving through edu­ca­tion to dimin­ish the num­ber of deaths to stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers alike. This ini­tia­tive was launched this year and pre­sen­ta­tions have been given to FSUS classes and uni­ver­sity admin­is­tra­tion similarly.

Bledsoe, a res­i­dent of Big Rapids, will invest his time fly­ing small air­crafts and enjoy­ing a hand crafted cabin located in the Upper Peninsula. The soon to be retired cop will launch a pro­fes­sional inves­ti­ga­tion com­pany to keep him­self engaged.

According to Bledsoe, very few crimes go unsolved, a claim of which Bledsoe and DPS are extremely proud.

Students who would like to report a crime or have infor­ma­tion on pre­vi­ous occur­rences can call the tip line at ext. 5900 or use bulldogtexttip@ferris.edu.