UC Merced’s new police chief is an immigrant and first-generation college student, a reflection of the college’s population, officials said Tuesday.
Chou Her was sworn in Tuesday as police chief at UC Merced by Chancellor Dorothy Leland.
The 40-year-old is the first person of Hmong descent to lead a public safety agency at any campus in the University of California system, according to officials. As chief, he’ll oversee two sergeants, nine officers and a number of other employees.
A first generation college student, he earned an associate’s degree in administration of justice from Merced College. At California State University, Stanislaus, he earned a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration.
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Her has shown leadership skills, according to Michael Reese, vice chancellor for business and administrative services. More than 70 percent of the school’s students are the first in their families to attend college, the university has reported.
“In so many ways, he represents this very unique college population,” Reese said. “I can think of no better leader.”
Born in Laos, Her and his family moved to the United States when he was 3. He has lived in Merced for most of his life, according to officials.
Before joining UC Merced, Her was a deputy sheriff for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office for five years and a probation officer for Stanislaus County for nearly a year.