LUPD Chief Ed Shupp recently announced the promotion of two officers to new positions within his 35-member department, as well as the addition of a canine officer.
Longstanding member of the force Sergeant Chris Houtz will be promoted to lieutenant, and Investigator David Kokinda will be promoted to corporal. Both promotions became effective Thursday, Dec. 1st.
“I’m pleased to be able to announce the promotions of Sgt. Houtz and Investigator David Kokinda,” Shupp said. “Both have been extremely dedicated and effective in our efforts to keep the campus community safe, and in engendering strong working relationships within our community. I feel confident in their ability to continue to serve Lehigh at the next level.”
A 15-year veteran of the police force, Houtz was twice named LUPD Officer of the Year and recently received the Jeanne Clery Award for Campus Safety. Shupp said that “many can attest to his work ethic. He is always willing to provide assistance to others.” Shupp also said that his background in fire and emergency response, community programming and investigations has “made him an asset not only to this department, but to the entire Lehigh community.”
Kokinda joined the LUPD four years ago, but Shupp said “he’s proven that hard work pays off.” He was named Officer of the Year in 2014, and has been working in investigations for the past two years. In his relatively brief time with the LUPD, Shupp said he’s “demonstrated his potential to be a leader and often takes the initiative to take on projects and assignments, as well as assisting others on patrol.” Last year, Kokinda’s work to promote the R.A.D. self-defense program offered by the LUPD led to significant increases in participation, Shupp said.
In addition, Shupp announced that the LUPD will be welcoming a European-born Malinois working dog later this month. Upon her arrival, the canine officer will complete an intensive four-month training period to prepare her to be a bomb/chemical and search dog. The dog, which is expected to be a female between 15 and 18 months, will be working closely with LUPD Officer Greg Nolf, who will keep the new canine officer with his family when it is not on duty.
The departmental addition was made possible through a generous donation from a local resident, Shupp said.
“She wanted the Lehigh community to have this additional resource, and we are more than happy to accept her gracious donation and incorporate this new member into our force,” said Shupp. “In fact, we’re very excited about it. We expect that the canine officer will be a very positive addition to our campus and will be seen frequently at events and other Lehigh-related activities.”
The Malinois is of Belgian origin, and is frequently used by law enforcement because of their intelligence, temperament and versatility. It is a medium-to-large breed that is working dog commonly used for tasks such as detection of explosives, accelerants and narcotics; as well as search and rescue missions. Malinois are currently working with the U.S. Secret Service to guard White House grounds.
The dog has not yet been named, and the LUPD welcomes suggestions from members of the campus community. The winning name will be announced after the dog’s arrival. The LUPD expects to host a welcome event for the campus to meet the new canine officer, and to recognize the donation that made this acquisition possible.
Stay tuned to Lehigh's social media account for information on how you can take part in helping to name Lehigh's first canine officer.