Ferris State Department of Public Safety Chief Bledsoe will retire this month after over nine years of duty on campus and 40 years total in law enforcement.
“There are always humorous cases, and others that are heartbreaking to recall in this line of work,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe, who is an advocate for policing with a pragmatic approach, had sometimes assigned written essays in lieu of monetary fines for erratic drivers on campus. These occurrences help alleviate any financial burden to students and at the same time get the message across.
“With a couple of exceptions, students have taken the essay route with an appreciated result,” Bledsoe said.
According to Bledsoe, DPS needed to raise the standard of police work after multiple sexual assaults and armed robbery instances were reported prior to his arrival in 2003.
In the annual crime report concerning 2012, numbers not yet available for the general public, Ferris has seen a decrease of over 40 percent per capita in the overall crime figures summating Chief Bledsoe’s tenure.
In 2002, there were over 800 criminal grievances investigated versus 547 last year. The university has seen a drop in arrests by 46 percent per 1,000 people in the years spanning from 2002, the year prior to Bledsoe’s arrival, until 2012.
To students’ satisfaction, DPS has seen a 60 percent decrease in parking tickets issued during the same span of time. A mind-boggling 33,340 parking tickets were issued in 2002 compared to over 13,000 yellow slips handed out last year.
However, over the past year, criminal complaints investigated by DPS raised by 4 percent, a total number barely under 550.
“Marty [Bledsoe] is a great mentor and a wealth of knowledge,” Captain James Cook said.
Cook will take the helm of police chief on an interim status. The university is actively interviewing Cook and others for the full-time position, according to Cook. No timetable for an announcement by the university is known.
Both Bledsoe and Cook spearheaded a campaign to improve pedestrian safety and deter distracted driving through education to diminish the number of deaths to students and community members alike. This initiative was launched this year and presentations have been given to FSUS classes and university administration similarly.
Bledsoe, a resident of Big Rapids, will invest his time flying small aircrafts and enjoying a hand crafted cabin located in the Upper Peninsula. The soon to be retired cop will launch a professional investigation company to keep himself engaged.
According to Bledsoe, very few crimes go unsolved, a claim of which Bledsoe and DPS are extremely proud.
Students who would like to report a crime or have information on previous occurrences can call the tip line at ext. 5900 or use firstname.lastname@example.org.