Search for new YPD chief begins

The search has begun for a new Yale Police Department chief.

Announcements for the position were posted online and in publications over the past two weeks, and the administrators already have numerous candidates, current YPD interim head of Public Safety James Lewis said. The search is national in scope, and the University is conducting it similarly to the search for a chief 12 years ago, Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner said. This search took eight months, she added, but she expects to have a decision by January. Lewis assumed the role of interim head in July after the departure of James A. Perrotti, who left after 12 years as chief.

“It would be improper to indicate who has applied,” Lewis said in an e-mail. “However, we do have internal candidates as well as numerous external candidates already.”

Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner, who is leading the search, said that she will be working alongside Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Michael Peel and Lewis to find the new chief. She added that Peel will meet with all of the final candidates before the University reaches a decision.

Advertisements for the position of YPD chief appeared in several different publications, Lewis said. He also contacted the Police Executive Research Forum and they listed the position on their site and will be notifying their membership of the search, he added.

Lewis said that in addition to reviewing candidates, he is also available to answer their questions.

Rich Simons, the head of the YPD union, said that the union had not been asked for input in the process. He added that he did not necessarily expect this because the union was not included in the previous search; he also commended Lewis for his extensive experience and “a fair, articulate and professional manner” at the head of the department.

One of the announcements for the position, posted on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website, said the position of chief is responsible for all operational, administrative and financial areas of a department with a staff of 87 certified police officers plus an administrative staff, and a $13 million annual operating budget.

The position of YPD chief requires “a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and 10 years of police experience, including: knowledge of law enforcement best practices; currency in technology and communications; leadership and interpersonal skills; and policing in urban environments.”

The advertisement also said that an understanding of higher education environments is preferred for the position.

During his time as interim head, Lewis has spent half of his time at home in Wisconsin and half working in New Haven.

“Yale was able to offer me a flexible position that will allow my wife and I to spend the majority of our time with our family in Wisconsin while still allowing me to assist in an occupation that I enjoy,” Lewis said in an April interview.

The last search for a chief in 1998 was also a national search, but ended with the selection of then-Assistant YPD Chief Perrotti. Deputy University Secretary Martha Highsmith has said that current Assistant Chief Ronnell Higgins will almost certainly be a candidate for the position.

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