A former Lafayette police chief knew from a young age that he would be a police officer, but he has now exchanged his childhood career goals for a position at Purdue.

Don Roush, chief of police for nine years, will begin his new position as the associate director of the weekend master of business administration program, a program for working professionals, in the School of Management today.

Roush started his career in law enforcement 25 years ago, following in the path his family members had made for him.

“My father, my brother and my grandfather before me were all police officers,” Roush said. “I moved in there naturally ... I’ve known probably since I was 12 to 15 that I would be a police officer.”

Roush said he enjoyed his time as a police officer, especially being of service to those in the community.

“It’s fun because you get to take risks,” Roush said. “The audacity of it all – you get to make a decision and you get to do that. It’s a neat thing to be able to work in that environment and make decisions, but the bottom line is you’re helping people. In the end, you really are helping people.”

In addition to his background in law enforcement, Roush also served in the military and received a master of science in higher education administration from Purdue in 2004. Roush said his past experiences as a police officer have given him skills that will transition well into his new position, including thinking critically and planning.

Tad Brinkerhoff, director of masters programs in Krannert, agrees. When Brinkerhoff heard the Lafayette police chief had applied for the position, he didn’t initially see a fit for the job. However, upon receiving Roush’s resume, Brinkerhoff said he began to see how great of a fit Roush could be.

“The thing that really impressed us was his leadership and his execution,” Brinkerhoff said. “He is someone who obviously knows how to lead. He’s obviously someone who has (the) respect of a lot of people in the community. He has a military background, so he’s very task oriented, very mission focused and that’s kind of what we needed.”

In his new position, Roush will be overseeing the recruiting and operations for the weekend program. He will be visiting companies and talking with prospective students to gauge interest in the program.

Roush said he is looking forward to starting his new position and is excited about returning to a college environment.

“(The college environment) is always learning,” Roush said. “It’s always looking forward. Everybody’s looking forward to doing something new. They’re trying to excel and that’s awesome.”