Derek Kruse, an experienced law enforcement officer, has been appointed the Director of Public Safety at St. Olaf College. At the small Minnesota university, 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.

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.

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.”