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April 3, 2013
By Katie Salvato
CSU is honoring faculty and staff who have reached service milestones during the 2012-13 fiscal year at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event, 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Lory Student Center Theatre.
After 21 years of studying at Colorado State University, Bob Chaffee walked in the 1995 graduation ceremony.
“Because I was an employee, I was able to take certain classes. I had to pay lab fees and books, but the tuition was waived for one class a semester,” Chaffee said.
It wasn’t his first time enrolling in the university as a student: He spent one year at CSU previously.
“I finally got my degree to try to set an example for my kids,” Chaffee said.
Chaffee received his diploma within three weeks of his son graduating from Rocky Mountain High School. He retired from his position as Captain with the CSU Police Department in 2005, but still works for the University as Preparedness Training Coordinator, developing training programs for the building proctors.
Before Chaffee joined the campus police, he worked at Woodward Inc., a company that specializes in engine control systems for airplanes and vehicles. He started at Woodward at age 12.
“That’s how the Woodward program was,” Chaffee said. “They trained young people. They selected a dozen kids from around Fort Collins. Originally, it was just boys, but then they made it boys and girls.”
Chaffee could only work up to 30 hours a week then.
“Woodward was a great place,” he said. “It’s a fantastic company. It took care of us; it treated us well. I just didn’t want to be a machinist all my life. And when I got to be part-time with the Fort Collins (police) reserve, it just kind of started getting my juices going.”
Chaffee says he devoted his time as CSU Police Captain to connecting with the community, making special efforts to relate to the students.
“It’s not us and them,” Chaffee said. “It’s not like an army occupying an enemy nation or a territory which you are trying to overtake.”
He says he believes being a police officer on campus gives him a unique way to enforce rules and maintain university safety.
“You know people will say, ‘Oh, it’s just a campus police department, you know, toy cops’,” Chaffee said. “No, they are certified officers. They go through the state academy just like everybody else. I believe the CSUPD, among all departments in the nation, has probably the highest standards and lives closest to the foundational tenants.”
He is proud of the contacts CSUPD maintains with other law enforcement.
“It’s law enforcement at its finest, and I’m pleased to say the relationship with Fort Collins PD, Loveland PD, and the (Larimer County) Sheriff’s office are excellent,” he said. “In fact, we tap those folks for football games. There’s not enough officers at CSU for such large events.”
Although Chaffee continues to train CSU building proctors on safety topics, his goals in retirement include being a good grandfather and continuing to be a supportive father.
“This has been a great career with a great agency,” Chaffee said.
To personally congratulate a Milestones honoree or group of honorees, please email your celebratory message to CSUEvents@colostate.edu no later than Tuesday, May 7. Your message might be used during the Celebrate! CSU Milestones event on May 9.
Contact: Brent Waugh