By Augustine Kanjia
Jason Kapurch has served the Worcester State University community for 26 years now. His journey has taken him through positions such as patrol officer, patrol sergeant, lieutenant, captain and now, after a recent promotion, chief of the Worcester State University Police.
Kapurch received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Worcester State, and he said his experience as a student made him want to work at the school after graduation.
“That is what makes me sit in this seat now,” he said.
Kapurch said his new job has been challenging but that, overall, things are going very well.
“I am very enthusiastic about the direction we are going,” Kapurch said. “As you know, this is a certified police department — certified by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Committee. Being certified means we have to meet 159 standards. My goal is to get us accredited. One needs [to meet] 400 standards to attain this position.”
Talking about security on the ground, Kapurch was quick to point out that WSU is a unique community and a learning environment that police officers are able to help provide and protect.
“I like to be proactive and I love to train my men before something happens,” Kapurch said. “We do active shooter training, CPR, defensive tactics training, emergency response training, we follow MEMA and FEMA guidelines [the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency]. I got training from the FBI, the ATF; if we have bomb threats, the Mass Police are our resources or partners. I have a good rapport with these people. We don’t have all the resources; we all need each other.”
Kapurch mentioned some of the challenges the department faces, pointing in particular to the absence of a captain to take his place now that he has been promoted to chief. At the moment he is covering both positions, which he said has been tough.
Part of the problem, he said, is that people are always leaving for other jobs.
“The Massachusetts Police took two of my men,” he said. “[Working for the WSU Police] has now become a career position. We have two officers that left this January for training until May. Other officers will have to step in.”
Kapurch said the budget can pose other problems but that the school administration has been supportive.
“If proposals are approved, we can get [them] going,” he said. “President Maloney has been good to us.”
Kapurch said that the department is trying to improve policing through greater integration into the campus community and student life.
“We decided to join [student] meetings and mingle around,” he said. “We want [students] to see our presence. We go to their dorms to say hello. We have an open door policy. Students who want to come and see us can come to meet with me. I don’t want to be another chief, but I want to go beyond and above. I take it seriously.”