Steve Rittereiser, Commander University of Washington Police Department
Ambassadors are the heart of The Whole U, and each month we’ll feature a different question and answer session so you can get to know them. It’s also a great opportunity to find our what’s going on in different parts of UW straight from the source.
How long have you worked at UW?
I’ve been here two and a half years. I moved from Ellensburg; I worked at Central Washington University for 28 years.
What brought you here?
The challenges of policing in a larger urban environment, and to be closer to family. I have two adult children and they both live in Seattle. Jason is a deputy prosecutor for King County and Brian is a structural engineer.
You serve as commander of professional standards & training. Can you tell me more about your role?
My favorite part is being directly involved in the hiring of new employees. Selecting new police officers to serve at UW is one of the most important things we do, and I have an integral role in that process. It’s rewarding.
Why did you agree to serve as an ambassador for The Whole U?
Because it’s an opportunity to be focused on the entire institution. It’s one of the rare committees that has that broad of a scope. I like the idea of having that kind of impact. And the other thing is that it looks like a lot of fun! And it’s ok to say that…so I welcome the opportunity to be involved.
What does the UWPD already do that fits with The Whole U?
We have workout programs for employees with a small gym they can use. On and around holidays we’ve come together to share meals. Potlucks have been a lot of fun. We’ve also come together as a department to do some fundraising. We work with the Special Olympics to do the Polar Plunge that is coming up February 1. It’s a chance to get together with all law enforcement in the community and raise some money for a good cause. Later in the spring, we host an Open House on April 16. It’s our chance to invite the campus community to get to know us. We have booths, Special Olympics will be here, and we invite Housing and Food Services and others. We have K-9 demonstrations and giveaways. I hope to see my fellow Whole U ambassadors there.
Are you participating in the kettlebell launch event?
Absolutely! Probably not as a participant but as a cheerleader, just because I didn’t sign up early enough.
We were shocked by the response. We thought we’d have to spread the word all month! Gives you a nice peak into why The Whole U is going to work. There’s that kind of excitement. Think about the other programs that have a lot of pieces. It doesn’t take a lot for people to show up. And a lot of times people associate these programs with, “Ok, I’m going to have to loose weight. ” We also have this total wellness focus, where we promote fun, stimulating things to do. If you’re into the arts, the idea is to give you more opportunities to do that. As one person put it, if you need more time to read books, we want to support that.
Here at UWPD, we have a very motivated group of employees. It’s not going to be motivating them, it’s going to be helping them find the time. One of my more unique roles as an ambassador is working with a 24-hour shift. We need to find opportunities that work with them.
What do you hope The Whole U accomplishes in its first year?
In short, that it brings people together and creates healthy relationships that maybe wouldn’t have had an opportunity to start otherwise.
What do you enjoy doing in your off hours?
I try to play a little bit of golf. Being fairly new to Seattle, my wife and I like to take in the Seattle waterfront. And we like to vacation in tropical places.