The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College Campus Police continue to show their dedication to keeping the campus community safe. To honor this dedication, President Michelle Johnston presented Officer Mark Kinney with the Larry and Laura Rees Certificate of Excellence Award as the department’s second Officer of the Year. University of Rio Grande Board of Trustee Larry Rees said he and his wife, Laura, appreciate the department’s dedication to serving the community and wanted to honor their excellence with this new award.
“The campus police do a wonderful job, so I wanted to make sure we had some vehicle to recognize outstanding achievements within the department,” Rees said. “This goes to an officer who exemplifies the best qualities of the campus police and I am more than happy to amplify that achievement.”
The Campus Police Department makes many behind the scenes contributions to protect and serve Rio that students, employees and guests do not get the opportunity to see. Johnston said she believes this award is an excellent way to honor their service to Rio and make sure those contributions are recognized.
“We are proud of the work our police force does every single day to serve our students, employees and guests,” Johnston said. “To have the opportunity to recognize that dedication and Rio Pride with this Officer of the Year award is our small way of saying thank you for all they do.”
Campus Police Chief Scott Borden said the department voted for the colleague they felt was deserving of the award by demonstrating leadership, courtesy and human compassion both in a uniform and out in the community.
“We have tried to institute a community policing atmosphere on campus. Mark Kinney is the ultimate community policing officer,” Borden said. “Mark talks to the students, staff and faculty on a professional and concerned level. He is very personable.”
Kinney said he is grateful to receive this award because it encourages officers to continue striving to serve and protect their Rio community.
“It is always exciting to win an award, but this one was chosen by the officers that do my same job every day. That makes it a little more special. I think it’s great Rio has this award because it increases morale and gives each officer something else to strive towards,” Kinney said. “Here at the Campus Police Department, everyone calls me Mark, not sir or officer and that makes it more personal. Staff and students will approach me to talk about pretty much anything. The majority of my interaction with whom I swore to protect and serve is so positive. I also could not ask for a department filled with better people.”
The university presented Kinney with a gift of a uniform ribbon. As an additional gift, Mr. and Mrs. Rees also donated a gift of a firearm to the department for the Officer of the Year to carry for that year.
Kinney has been a member of the Campus Police Department since January 2012.