Iowa State University’s Deputy Chief of Police is leaving to become Director of Threat Management Services at Virginia Tech. Over two years ago a Virginia Tech student shot 32 people on campus before committing suicide.
"The Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, Christiansburg communities are much more than just the tragedy of April 16, 2007," says Gene Deisinger, the soon-to-be former I.S.U. Deputy Chief of Police.
"Over the last couple of years of having an opportunity to know and work with colleagues at Virginia Tech, I’ve been very struck by the level of compassion and commitment within that institution and the strong sense of community so as I look forward to that change, I’m very eager to join that community and to continue to contribute to making the best, safest environment that I can."
Deisinger, who is 44 years old, is a licensed psychologist and has headed a nationally-recognized "Special Operations Unit" at Iowa State that assesses campus threats. Deisinger arrived in Ames in 1987 as a doctoral student.
"I’ve had the pleasure of being on staff at Iowa State University since 1989, first in the counseling service and then, in 1998, moving over to the police department," Deisinger says.
Deisinger was among those who advocated arming police on the campuses of the state-supported universities in Ames, Iowa City and Cedar Falls. In the fall of 2007, the board that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa voted to reverse a 40-year-old policy and allow campus police to carry guns .
"If colleges and universities are going to have police forces, then those officers should be fully trained, certified and equipped to perform all of the necessary functions of being a police officer," Deisinger says, "and that includes arming and being able to provide a full emergency response."
Virginia Tech, like Iowa State, provides the "full range of police services" according to Deisinger, and that includes the use of guns. Deisinger co-authored "The Handbook for Campus Threat Assessment and Management Teams ," which was released in late 2008.
Deisinger, a native of Maine who grew up in Wisconsin, has spent his professional career in Iowa. Deisinger’s last day at Iowa State is August 7th, then 10 days later he’ll start his new job at Virginia Tech.