By Brandi Makuski
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Friday announced it has hired a new police chief—one with a face familiar to the community.
Tony Babl, detective sergeant for the Stevens Point Police Department, will become chief of University Police and Security Services effective April 2, succeeding Brian Bridges, who served as interim chief since last summer.
Babl has been with SPPD since 1993, and in a press release said he was “excited” for the new opportunity.
In addition to overseeing safety and security on campus, he will continue training, equipment and retention efforts for university police, as well as working with other local law enforcement agencies.
“Police-community relations is another important area, and I plan on making university police more visible, accessible and approachable,” Babl said.
“Tony stood out during the selection process because of his deep knowledge of the Stevens Point community and the UW-Stevens Point campus,” said Kristen Hendrickson, vice chancellor for business affairs at UW-Stevens Point. “His commitment to collaborating within the university and externally with our city and county partners will serve us well.”
Babl joined the Stevens Point Police Department in June 1993 as a patrol officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2001 and named assistant chief in April 2015, a role from which he later stepped down in order to return to active investigative work. He is a native of Schofield, and has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UW-Platteville. He lives in rural Portage Co. with his wife and children.
SPPD Chief Martin Skibba said he was sad to see his longtime friend and colleague leave the department.
“But I’ve always tried to encourage a mentorship environment, constantly working towards officer training and improvement,” Skibba said Friday afternoon. “And that means change; sometimes it’s change that means a departure. But this is a such a great opportunity for him, he just can’t pass this up.”
Skibba added having Babl at the head of university security “can only mean good things” for a better working relationship between city and university law enforcement.
“To have that relationship that already exists with him, between our fellow investigators and officers, only ensures a stronger working relationship with the university to provide public safety services,” he added.