SVSU alumnus Cliff Block has been hired as the chief of University Police.
His official start date is Thursday, Sept 12. He will be replacing Leo Mioduszewski, who retired in July after holding the position since 2016.
Block earned a master’s degree in leadership in public administration from SVSU in 2003. He previously served as the police chief for Midland, where he oversaw 52 employees and their $9 million budget.
“I retire from Midland on Sept.11, so I will be able to enjoy retirement for approximately 15 hours,” Block said.
J.J. Boehm, the director of Community and Media Relations, said Block is a highly qualified choice for the position.
“I got to know Chief Block when he and I completed the Great Lakes Bay Region Institute for Leaders in 2012,” he said. “He impressed me then with his intellect and for having the heart of a public servant, and that impression has solidified over time.”
Boehm believes Block’s reputation in the law enforcement community is well-deserved.
“He is well-respected in Midland and in the law enforcement community, and I fully expect he will do a fine job of protecting and serving our Cardinal community,” Boehm said.
Block will be bringing over 26 years’ worth of law enforcement experience to SVSU.
“I graduated from the Oakland Police Academy in November 1992 and began my law enforcement career with the Village of Morrice in December of 1992 as a part-time officer,” Block said.
He joined the City of Perry Police Department as a part-time officer in January 1993. Shortly after, he began his career as a patrol officer with the Midland Police Department in May 1993. He then worked his way up the ranks, becoming a patrol sergeant in 1999, a patrol lieutenant in 2004, an administrative lieutenant a year later, a captain in 2009 and finally the police chief in 2012.
Block said he is excited to return to SVSU.
“I have been interested in the SVSU opportunity for the past few years,” he said. “I had the pleasure to know both of your previous chiefs and took the opportunity to speak to both of them during their respective tenure about SVSU, the police department and their role as chief.”
Block was not eligible to apply when former Chief Ron Trepkowski retired in 2014. Former chief Mioduszewski informed Block of his upcoming retirement, and Block was happy to be able to apply this time.
“I was very excited about the opportunity, and, when I saw the posting, I had my application, resume and cover letter submitted the following day,” Block said.
Block said he “appreciates” the small community feel of SVSU.
“There is a certain level of energy and enthusiasm in the campus setting, which cannot be duplicated in the municipal setting,” he said. “I find this very refreshing and exciting. I truly look forward to working in this dynamic environment.”
Block said he was excited about the challenges of working with a smaller department and with a college community.
“The biggest challenge I perceive is providing the necessary guidance, information and support to the large influx of new students each year in order to keep themselves and others safe and secure, enabling them to maintain their focus on higher learning, growth, new relationships and success,” he said.
While Block believes his extensive law enforcement career will help him transition to his new position, he said the biggest change will be working with a college community.
“Besides the obvious population, land area, infrastructure and environmental differences, the campus police interactions will consist of a larger proportion of student contacts than would be encountered in Midland,” he said.
He wants to take advantage of the smaller community by employing more “corrective action through student discipline,” especially for minor offenses.
Block also believes the smaller community will help himself and the police department at-large be able to provide more support to victims.
“While not a difference, it will certainly be important to acknowledge that many of these contacts will be with student victims who may need extra support and understanding,” he said. “It will be important for us to treat every contact as an opportunity to have a positive interaction with our SVSU community members and visitors.”
Although Block is retiring from the Midland Police Department, Block said he views SVSU as “not a retirement job, but rather the job from which I plan to ultimately retire.”
“I consider this to be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am greatly honored to have been chosen to be the next Chief of University Police,” he said. “I will do my best to meet the expectations of the entire SVSU community.”
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