UC Merced announces new police chief, first of Hmong descent

MERCED, Calif. - University of California Merced named announced a new police chief Wednesday, the first of Hmong-descent to serve at any UC school. Chief Chou Her immigrated to the U.S. from Laos at the age of three, is a first generation college graduate and has worked with the UC Merced Police Department for nearly two decades. He says this is more than a promotion, it's his own American dream.

"My journey starts pretty far back when I was three. We moved here after leaving Laos after the fall and during the Vietnam war. I started kindergarten in Merced," said Her.

He's lived and served there ever since.

"I started as police officer to Sergeant to Lieutenant and now to Captain," said Chou.

Has officially named police chief Wednesday and will be sworn in next week.

"It's a little humbling to know I am taking this step in history but for an entire population of America here. I take that very seriously. I am very honored to do that. I know in many ways there are a lot of young people looking at me to see what the next steps are for them," he said.

UC Merced police officials say this is an incredible move for the department.

"It brings consistency of how we provide services to the campus community. It also brings stability," said UC Merced Police Department official Tamela Adkins.

Officer Kari Gomes says the new chief's story fits in well at UC Merced where a majority of students are first-generation college students.

"It shows it doesn't matter how you come from. None of that matters when you set your mind to something you can accomplish it. UC Merced is a majority first generation college students and come from lower socioeconomic households. Chief shows them none of that matters," said Gomes.


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