Roberts honored for professional achievement
PLATTEVILLE - University of Wisconsin-Platteville alumnus Michael Roberts, who works with some of the most important aspects of fighting crime in the state as administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Justice's law enforcement service, is humble about his success in the field.
Roberts is to be honored Oct. 10 with the UWP College of Liberal Arts and Education Professional Achievement Award.
"As I travel around the state, and even nationally, I run into a lot of people who have come out of the criminal justice program and other programs at UWP, and they have very responsible positions," Roberts said. "To be chosen from that group is a distinct honor. I think there are many, many people out there who deserve the honor."
Roberts graduated with a degree in criminal justice from UWP in 1971. He worked at the Platteville Police Department while taking classes at the university, and attributes much of his success to the quality of the criminal justice program at UWP.
"The criminal justice program, when I started in it, was a very new program," Roberts said. "The people who put the criminal justice program together had enough vision to recognize that law enforcement was becoming a professional position. Structuring that program and putting it together was a very visionary thing at that time."
His education at UWP combined with a little bit of luck helped Roberts get a position at the state's criminal information services bureau, and he was able to work up the ladder in the Department of Justice over the years.
"Being at the right place at the right time affords you the opportunity to advance," Roberts said. "My background in law enforcement combined with the criminal justice degree opened doors for me at a time when those opportunities wouldn't have been open otherwise," Roberts said.
In his post as administrator of the DOJ's law enforcement services, Roberts oversees the crime information bureau, which collects and disseminates criminal history, and the training and standards bureau, which operates training for officers throughout the state. He reports directly to Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and is also responsible for Wisconsin's three crime labs.
"They do all of the forensic evidence for the state," Roberts said.
All in all, Roberts oversees a department with a total of 180 full-time employees and a combined $45 million annual budget.
Roberts lives in Stoughton with his wife, Melanie, and enjoys playing golf when he's not helping fight crime. And for that, he's grateful he earned a criminal justice degree at UWP.
"I don't think I'd be doing what I'm doing without it," Roberts said.
Roberts will be recognized along with honorees Bernard Powers, Bruce Howdle and Earl Hernandez at the Oct. 10 College of Liberal Arts and Education dinner and banquet. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Harry and Laura Nohr Gallery in the Ullsvik Center.