Published: May 23, 2024

Editor’s note: Throughout 2024, CUPD is commemorating its 75th anniversary by sharing historical tidbits, member profiles and communicating its vision for the future.

Sergeant Matt DeLaria followed in his father’s footsteps, not only entering into law enforcement but specifically joining the police department at CU Boulder. The father-son officers even served together as detectives for a few years, before the elder DeLaria retired.

The past 25 years at CUPD have formed the foundation of DeLaria’s professional life, and they’ve had a profound impact on his personal life. He met his wife in the department (she was an emergency dispatcher), and to this day, he says people hear his last name and recall fond memories of his dad, the late Detective Tim DeLaria.

 Detective Tim DeLaria and Sergeant Matt DeLaria at his police academy graduation in 1999 next to a present-day photo of Matt

Left: CUPD Detective Tim DeLaria (retired) and Sergeant Matt DeLaria at his police academy graduation in April 1999. Right: Sergeant Matt DeLaria present day. 

“He was known throughout the county and the state. His forte was investigations, and he was a detective for most of his career. He had a great impact on campus and on me,” DeLaria said.

After years of hearing stories around the dinner table, DeLaria entered the police academy and then began his own career with CUPD in January of 1999. He’s been with CUPD for a third of its 75-year history. 

“The job we do hasn’t really changed that much in 25 years,” he said. “The how we do the job has changed, though, with technology.” DeLaria has seen the advent of department-issued cell phones, body-worn cameras and constant connectivity. But he notes that the type of calls CUPD officers go on now remain largely unchanged. 

DeLaria said the way officers respond to calls has advanced, as the profession has adapted to provide better resources targeting the mental health needs of the community. CUPD has an embedded mental health clinician and an embedded victim advocate, and officers receive specialized training in trauma-informed interview techniques, inclusive language and more, to best serve the campus population. 

“When I started, I had zero intention of staying in one place for my entire career,” DeLaria said. But the draw of university policing was strong. “It’s a unique environment. I love being outside, walking around, driving around,” he said. And working with students, faculty and staff lends itself to a special type of community policing. “We get to work a lot of really cool events and have opportunities I don’t think I’d get anywhere else.”

DeLaria has been promoted several times within CUPD, has served on the Boulder Police Department  S.W.A.T. team, and will soon move into supervision of events and emergency management in the department. “I’ve been really fortunate to have so many opportunities during my time here.” 

Just like his father before him, DeLaria plans to serve CU Boulder and CUPD, which is part of the university’s Division of Public Safety, for 30 years, making a positive and long-lasting impact in a profession that is ever growing and changing.