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UCLA

Not Short on What It Takes
to be a Good Cop

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By Michael Stone

Published Feb 7, 2014 8:00 AM


This Bruin met the Orange Police Department's requirements for personal character, integrity and honesty.

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Photo courtesy of CPOA on Flickr

Spend an afternoon with Keith Short '04, and you will quickly see that the dedication, discipline and teamwork he exhibited in academics and athletics at UCLA is paying big dividends in his career. Short is a seven-year veteran police officer in one of Orange County’s most prominent and diverse cities—Orange, Calif.

The police department handpicks each officer after extensive background checks, testing and interviews, all the way up to Chief Robert H. Gustafson, who bases his final decision on such criteria as personal character, integrity and honesty.

The soft-spoken Short, an Orange County native, was a standout football running and defensive back in high school. Then-Bruin coach Bob Toledo recruited him to UCLA, where he played corner back and special teams and excelled academically. In 2003, under Coach Karl Dorrell, Short made the Pac-10 Conference All-Academic first team. UCLA impressed him with "diversity of thinking," which he believes encourages him "to learn from people with differing viewpoints."

After graduation, choosing a career in law enforcement was a no-brainer for Short because members of his family had police and military careers. And, from an early age, he felt destined to work outdoors.

His "academic and athletic background is emblematic of the type of officer the profession needs," says Chief Gustafson. "His experience at UCLA provided him the skills, personal discipline and perspective that successful police professionals must have to become leaders in their departments and communities. He has a tremendous future coming his way."

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