People of Whitewater: Matthew Kiederlen

Alena Purpero, Lifestyle Editor

of Wisconsin-Whitewater Police Services, currently wears a badge on his chest, but at one time. that badge was meant to be a stethoscope.

“I never actually wanted to go into law enforcement, it was all kind of a happenstance,” Kiederlen said.

When Kiederlen got out of the Marine Corps he planned to go into nursing.

Kiederlen was born in the Chicago area, then moved to Cassville, Wisconsin, where he spent his formative years.

After moving down to DeKalb, Illinois, he went into the Marine Corps from 1987 to 1991.

Within his time at a local community college, his academic advisor told Kiederlen that he could use some courses as credit towards a law enforcement degree. Kiederlen anticipated transferring those courses to a nursing degree at NIU, but as he continued to take courses on law enforcement, he started to take an interest in the subject.

He did a ride along with an officer from NIU, and found the experience to be exhilarating and fascinating. That ride along was the defining factor in Kiederlen taking on law enforcement as a career.

“I never considered being a police officer,” Kiederlen said. “You always hear about these folks who come in and say ‘I’ve wanted to be a cop since I was five years old.’ But no, that wasn’t me.”

He then began a career with United Parcel Service (UPS), and was eventually hired at Northern Illinois University (NIU) as a police officer.

After 15 years of working his way up at NIU, Kiederlen was offered the chief position at UW-W in 2007.

Kiederlen said, “I do enjoy it. Let’s face it. My position now isn’t new and different everyday per say, but on patrol it certainly is, there is always a new challenge. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, someone manages to surprise you.”

While his career plan was not what he planned, Kiederlen demonstrates a strong passion for the educational enviroment and helping students maintain safety.

It is important to not only Kiederlen, but the police department as a whole, that they touch the lives of a lot of people and educate them on safety matters rather than resorting to ticketing and custody.

Kiederlen encourages campus police officers to have students take on alternative educational programs oppose to the normal plan of action that results in only punishment.

Kiederlen explains that Interpersonal violence, sexual assault, criminal damage more often than not, revolves around alcohol. The police officers on campus want students to enjoy there time here at Whitewater and Kiederlen says that students wanting to partake in going out to parties, and the bars (legally) is not the problem.

With an alcohol associated environment comes related risks. Therefore it’s important for students to always be accompanied by at least one person that will remain in their right mind, while still enjoying themselves and having one or two drinks, he advises.

Kiederlen expresses the need to talk more about alcohol and sexual assault.

“Alcohol is not an excuse for an offender and it is not the blaming of the victim,” Kiederlen said. “But alcohol and or drugs are involved in probably well over 90% of sexual assaults that are reported on campus and we aren’t saying anything about it and that’s ridiculous.”

Kiederlen emphasises that it is crucial to be talking about these risks that college students face.

As chief of police, Kiederlen is passionate about implementing safety through preventive tacts and spreading knowledge. While it is important that we remain aware and approach safety situations in an intelligent manner, Kiederlen jokes and says “I don’t want students walking around thinking the sky is falling.”

It is important for students to remain environmentally aware but still to still enjoy their time as a college student. Kiederlen and the police officers at UW- Whitewater encourage students to express any concerns they have about safety or general inquiries to them.