Meet a Mountain Lion: Michael Schaller, investigator for the UCCS Police Department

Michael Schaller is a criminal investigator for the UCCS Police Department.

“Meet a Mountain Lion” is a series of stories introducing members of the UCCS community to campus. Meet Michael Schaller, criminal investigator for the UCCS Police Department.

1. Tell us about your background, and what brought you to UCCS.

I came to UCCS in 2014 after 22 years with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. These are the only full-time jobs I have held, and on May 1st I celebrated 30 years of serving this region as a law enforcement officer.

2. What do you do at UCCS?

I am the criminal investigator for the UCCS Police Department. I provide support for patrol officers on cases that require additional follow-up and expertise and assume the lead on more complex and major cases. I am also a member of the UCCS CARE Team, and work closely with OIE, Dean of Students, Events Services and Housing on issues that impact campus.

3. What do you love about UCCS?

The people. While the views are near the top (of course!) working with and around great people make coming to work an enjoyable experience.

4. What are you working on right now?      

I am always carrying a moderate case load of property crimes and crimes against people. I am also working with OIE to create a new Victims Rights form that will better represent all campus options for victims.

5. What energizes you at your job?     

Interviewing people. Victims, witnesses, suspects, you name it. Cases are built on conversations as much as physical evidence, so sitting down with someone to paint a picture of what happened can be fascinating. I am in the process of becoming a certified FETI (Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview) interviewer, which will allow me to really enhance my skills when speaking with people.

6. What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

Establishing a good relationship between patrol and investigations. I provide them with investigative strategies, networking contacts, and assistance to allow them the opportunity to learn new things on cases they may not always get the opportunity to investigate. I also established a new case referral process, so officers know when I assume a case investigation and how it progresses. This allows for a more efficient investigative process where things are not either missed or unnecessarily duplicated.

7. What’s a goal you have for the future?

To see our department grow enough to allow for the creation of a full-time investigations division. This would take some of the case load off of our patrol officers and allow the time and effort needed on more involved cases.

8. What do you do with your free time?

My wife and I like to travel, ride motorcycles, and attend sporting events, concerts, and the theater. We NEVER miss Iron Maiden when they come through!

9. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

After arresting a suspect and finishing up the booking at the jail he said, “thank you.” He clarified not thank you for the arrest, but for how I treated him during the entire encounter. That was a long time ago, and it still resonates with me to this day. I make it a point to try my best for everyone I deal with to feel the same way he did.

Do you know a Mountain Lion that UCCS should meet? We want to hear all about them! Invite them to share their story, and we’ll tell it to the UCCS community.