PITTSBURG — Stu Hite came back to his roots on Monday at Pittsburg State University as university police chief.
When he was a PSU student Hite worked for the university police as a dispatcher where he “caught the bug” for law enforcement.
On Monday, he began his first day as police chief after a 30 year career with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
“I can’t believe 30 years with the county went so fast,” Hite said. “Looking back at what pushed me to apply to this position is pride. I take a lot of pride of the work I’ve done in the past 30 years and I already take a lot of pride when I tell people I work for the Pittsburg State University Police.”
According to a release, Vice President of Student Life Steve Erwin said Hite’s experience will “greatly benefit the university.”
"His connections to area law enforcement is an important component in effectively protecting the campus community as we work to prevent and respond to incidents," Erwin said. "His energy and enthusiasm for campus law enforcement will serve us well as we build on the efforts of those who came before him to keep the campus a safe place to study and work."
Hite said his experience with crimes, helping people and the professionals he has met over the years prepared him for his new position at the school.
He said what helped him reach this point in his career were the people he was surrounded by.
“I absolutely will miss the relationships and friendships within the sheriff's office … they are like a second family,” he said.
Hite most recently served as a detective lieutenant at CRSO. According the the release, he was recognized for various achievements including the Kansas Association of Police Chiefs Bronze Award for “saving the life of an individual attempting suicide atop a water tower.”
He also has trained at the FBI National Academy where he received leadership, investigating, anti-terror training and more. Hite also serves as president of the Kansas Peace Officers Association.
A few things which intrigued Hite into applying at PSU are the partnerships with local law enforcement and PSU which were established by previous directors.
This includes the local law enforcement’s involvement when presenters visit PSU and the involvement which would take place in an event of a tragedy.
“Coming here was a good opportunity to transition [from local law enforcement to university],” he said.
He not only applauded the university on its connection to the local law enforcement, he said if someone needs something, it could probably be found on campus, like its own little “city.”
To add to the connection between the departments at the university, Hite said he would like to reach out to justice studies students and encourage them to “get their feet wet” by working as dispatchers while in college like he once did.
Hite said the reason he’s in this field is “a bit cliche” but nonetheless true.
“The cliche thing is always to say to help people … it truly is what motivates people anyone public service is the need or desire to help other human beings,” he said.
“We all realize bad things happen to good people and if i can help someone in that situation by sharing the life experiences I had in this career then I feel like that’s a positive situation … sad part is, you can’t help everyone but we still have the same approach, if we can make a difference in one persons life then we had a pretty good day.”
Outside of work, Hite can be found at his children’s sporting events and serving others through the rotary.
“We bleed crimson and gold,” he said about his family. “It’s a no-brainer coming to Pitt State.
“It's a privilege to come work here in all honesty, I’m blown away in day one.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.