Aside from celebrating his birthday last week and reporting to daily duties of campus safety, University Police Department Chief Dale Pittman has a long history in law enforcement since heading UPD for five years.
Without a declared major at UAA (formerly the Anchorage Community College), Pittman considered becoming a lawyer. He became involved with law enforcement while looking for a summer job between semesters: The Anchorage Police Department had an open position for a property-room cadet.
As a cadet, Pittman had the opportunity to ride with police officers during their shifts. He resisted that for a while, until one of the officers talked him into joining him during a short shift. “We had a wild night and it was a lot of fun,” Pittman said. It was after that experience Pittman decided to become a policeman rather than a lawyer.
Pittman quit APD to work in California for a year at a federal prison system. He said that it was a fairly corrupt system at that time and he wound up being involved in exposing corrupt officers. Pittman headed back to Alaska when he found out the University Police Department was hiring.
Pittman isn’t innocent from trouble with the law. As a high school student in Wyoming, he and his friends were charged with trespassing in the A&W parking lot. Although the business had stuck a sign in the parking lot for no trespassing after 10 p.m., everyone had a car parked at A&W all night, Pittman said. He also received a ticket for speeding during high school and a ticket for expired registration by a trooper who didn’t care that he was a cop.
The two common incidents Pittman responds to on campus are alcohol violations and theft. However, Pittman has experienced some bizarre situations while working for UPD. Fifteen years ago he received a call in which he and the other officers found an intoxicated man in the Gorsuch Commons front closet area. The man had a bag full of cameras and other items from burglarizing students. He had gone to the bathroom and passed out in his own mess, Pittman said.
Pittman is familiar with safety in the Housing community, which is where he met his wife Angela. She was a resident adviser for Housing while Pittman was the Housing officer for the campus. The pair worked together for about three or four years before dating when she graduated from college. They’ve been married for 10 years and have three children.
Associate Director of Resident Life Michael Votava praised Pittman for campus security and safety. Votava said Pittman is open to any feedback that Residence Life coordinators have about police procedures.
“There were a couple times last semester I saw him actually out in uniform,” Votava said. “That was nice to see, that the chief was reconnecting with his line of work as an officer and an administrator.”
Dean of Students Bruce Schultz has worked with Pittman for over 15 years. Under Pittman’s leadership, UPD has worked in partnership with UAA and community members to solve community concerns, Schultz said.
“First and foremost, Chief Pittman always puts safety and security concerns as his number-one priority,” Schultz said.