St. Olaf names new director of public safety
St. Olaf College Vice President for Student Life Hassel Morrison has announced the appointment of Derek Kruse as the college’s new director of public safety.
Kruse has worked in public safety for more than 15 years, including five years as a sworn peace officer at the Mesa Police Department in Arizona and four years as a sworn peace officer for the South St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota. During this time, he worked in several roles focused on community engagement and rebuilding the relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
At St. Olaf, Kruse will lead the Public Safety Office’s mission of working collaboratively with campus community members to create a secure, stable environment in which to live, work, and learn.
“Derek’s innovative and progressive leadership will prove to be a tremendous asset to Student Life, St. Olaf College, and the Northfield community,” Morrison says. “He brings rich experience to the Public Safety Office through his involvement with the LGBTQIA community, mental health initiatives, implicit bias training, and the Human Rights Advisory Board. He is authentic in his passion for building a safe, inclusive, equitable, and diverse community. He is a balanced, compassionate, and empathetic individual who cares about others and their well-being.”
Derek’s innovative and progressive leadership will prove to be a tremendous asset to Student Life, St. Olaf College, and the Northfield community.Vice President for Student Life Hassel Morrison
Kruse is certified in crisis intervention, substance abuse recognition, de-escalation tactics, crime prevention, and implicit bias training. He spearheaded a number of department-wide initiatives in his previous roles, including first-ever mental health and crisis response programs. He has received numerous awards during his time in public safety, including the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Medal of Honor, the Dakota County Chiefs of Police Medal of Honor, and the South St. Paul Medal of Valor. He has also been recognized with awards for exemplary performance, dedication to teamwork, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“I have always been passionate about community engagement and working with marginalized communities, and I spent most of my previous career pursuing opportunities to do just that,” Kruse says. “I worked extensively with the LGBTQIA+ community, of which I belong, and with those suffering from mental health concerns and substance abuse disorder. My hope is that my experience will allow me to strengthen the relationship Public Safety has with the campus community through community engagement, transparency, collaboration, and professionalism.”
Kruse earned his Associate of Science degree from Normandale Community College, his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and his Master of Science degree from Concordia University Chicago.