With 37 years in law enforcement under his belt, it’s unusual for University of Central Florida Police Chief Richard Beary to experience firsts.

But later this month, he’ll be front and center for a historical occasion: On Tuesday, Oct. 28, Beary will be sworn in as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, marking the first time the chief of a university or college law enforcement agency has held the title.

Beary said he hopes that his new role will bring attention to the synergistic relationship campus police should have with other local agencies, with UCF Police’s partnership with Central Florida agencies serving as a prime example for IACP’s more than 22,000 members to look to.

“Being named IACP president is a huge honor for me personally, but beyond that, it’s an important recognition for UCF and the role campus law enforcement plays in the larger scheme of community safety,” said Beary, who has served as the organization’s vice president for the past year.

For Beary, a career in law enforcement meant following in his family’s footsteps. His father, Ray, was the police chief for the cities of Maitland and Winter Park, and his older brother, Kevin, is a former Orange County Sheriff. Two of Beary’s children have also followed in the tradition and now work as deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Beary is a graduate of the police academy at Seminole State College. At the time, he was 18 and the youngest officer in Florida. The chief completed the academy before he even finished high school, and at first he was too young to buy his own gun and bullets, so his parents had to.

He started his career at the Altamonte Springs Police Department in 1977, rising through the ranks from Communications Operator to Commander of Police Operations.

In 1992, he was named Chief of Police for Lake Mary. He served there until retiring in June 2007 after 30 years of municipal service and then joined UCF in 2007.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Rollins College and a master’s degree in criminal justice from UCF. A graduate of the 143rd session of the F.B.I. National Academy, he also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Seminole State College of Florida and has been a certified law enforcement trainer since 1981.

Beary will be sworn in during the IACP’s Annual Conference, which is expected to bring more than 14,000 members to Orlando Oct. 25-28. Through his IACP presidency, Beary will have the opportunity to bring attention to law enforcement issues that he’s passionate about.

Among those are the risks associated with online crime, which are being discussed throughout the country in October as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

“Cybercrime presents challenges for everyone, including the government,” Beary said.  “It’s the number one crime in the world, and it’s so new and difficult to wrap our heads around that we can’t even estimate the damage.”

He’ll also work to promote the tactical, military-grade individual first aid kits developed by UCF Police in partnership with North American Rescue, LLC. The kits are carried by each officer, and they allow them to respond to emergencies in which immediate first aid could help to save the lives of officers or victims.

Beary’s other priority will be to work with the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program to improve communication and benefits for the families of fallen officers and first responders.

“We owe it to them and their families,” he said.