New CR police chief seeks to create ‘safest learning environment for our students’

Concerns about local crime rates, increase in active shooter incidents nationally spurs move

Frederick Flores is College of the Redwoods’ first campus police chief. He began in the role Sept. 1. (College of the Redwoods — Contributed)
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For the first time in its 55-year history, the College of the Redwoods has a new police chief, albeit on a temporary basis.

The college named Frederick Flores as the interim police chief of the campus just south of Eureka.

“I am real excited to be on board,” Flores told the Times-Standard this afternoon. “… We want to make this the safest learning environment for our students.”

CR spokeswoman Molly Blakemore confirmed Flores is the college’s first police chief.

“The Board is very pleased to see the CR police department become a reality,” said CR Board of Trustees President Bruce Emad in a prepared statement. “This is the culmination of many years of hard work by the College of the Redwoods President Dr. (Keith) Flamer and his staff and we will now be able to fulfill our moral obligation to our students, faculty and staff to provide a safe and as welcoming an educational environment as possible.”

Flores’ first day on the job was Sept. 1.

The move to create a campus police force was spurred by the local environment as well as recent national events, said Flores.

“I think the thing that has concerned the faculty is overall crime in Humboldt County has gone up,” he said. “With the active shooters they have seen across the county, they wanted to take the public safety department to the next level.”

Flores expects to be in the role for the next four to six months he said as the campus looks to recruit a permanent chief. There are also plans for at least one police officer who could come from closer to home, with the campus looking at potentially recruiting out of its own training academy.

In addition to adding police positions, the campus plans to maintain its public safety security team which currently includes three full-time positions and five to six part-time positions, Flores said.

Flores has an extensive background in working in law enforcement and firefighting. He worked for several decades with Cal Fire, including as a peace officer out of the Humboldt-Del Norte unit based locally. He was a graduate of Butte Community College’s law enforcement training academy, he said.

Flores plans to cement the roles of the department during his tenure as the interim chief.

“My goal is to set a really clear mission and vision for the department,” he said. “The approach is through community policing, what we call campus policing. We want to work closely with the faculty and the students.”

Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

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