At the second and final spring game at Washington Grizzly stadium, University of Montana Police Chief Marty Ludeman was honored for his eight years at the helm of the department.

KGVO caught up with Ludeman just days before his official retirement date of May 1.

Ludeman spoke of his department and how it has grown and changed over the years.

“We're 15 officers strong,” said Ludeman. “We're just like any other police department in the state. We're accredited the same way as the Missoula police or the sheriff's department. Our officers are fully sworn have arrest capabilities just like a regular police department would. Our mission is a little bit different than it would be at the city police or the sheriff's office here in our community, in that our whole goal is to keep a safe learning environment for students, faculty, and staff.”

Ludeman said his officers work hard to foster relationships with students who may be away from home and on their own for the first time.

“What that means is that we interact with our campus community, on all sorts of things,” he said. “We try to mentor students and help them make good decisions. We're in the residence halls, just to be there for them to see us, to be approachable if they have questions. We just make more time to make ourselves available in those arenas than a City Police or Sheriff's Department would have.”

Ludeman expanded on that relationship between student and UM law enforcement officer.

“We understand that students are here they're usually away from home for an extended period of time for the first time, and they’re learning and growing, and if we can be there as a positive role, that's what we strive to do. We may have a student go to Student Conduct for a certain behavior instead of a criminal citation, and is that's how people learn is by making mistakes, and we try to make those mistakes a learnable situation.”

Ludeman said what he is most proud of in his time as chief is the growing respect his department has gained, not just in Missoula, but throughout the state.

“We're respected within our community on the campus,” he said. “I think we're respected in our community of Missoula, and even statewide. We have a bomb detection animal that has traveled statewide and mutual aid requests from any police department or agency. We've been all over the state and in assisting in those types of endeavors. We work closely with the governor's office for events that they have in Helena at the State Capitol. So I think our value as a police department has really stepped up and has really, been a good thing for the University of Montana.”

The name of Ludeman’s successor will be announced soon.


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