University officials have hired George Aylward, a former police chief for Middletown, Conn. and the University of Minnesota, to be Yale’s new director of security, University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said.
The search for a new director of security began in the fall, Highsmith said, and Aylward was chosen from a pool of highly qualified applicants. Aylward will be responsible for about 75 members of Yale’s security staff and for maintaining and updating campus security — including gates, keycards and surveillance cameras, she said.
“We’re all very excited about him coming,” Highsmith said. “His experience in Minnesota is a good indicator of the kinds of challenges he might face here.”
Aylward has spent the last five years as the chief of campus police for the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Assistant Vice President for Public Safety Greg Hestness said. For the last 18 months, he said, Aylward has also held the job of interim assistant vice president for public safety at the school.
During his tenure as interim assistance vice president, Aylward consolidated the campus police department, emergency management and the Department of Central Security into the Department of Public Safety, Hestness said.
Highsmith said Aylward will report directly to her and will work closely with University Police.
Yale Police Chief James Perrotti said he interviewed two candidates, including Aylward, for the position and gave his assessments to the Office of the Secretary. Perrotti said he thought Aylward’s work with the University of Minnesota’s police and security force made him the best candidate for the job. The other candidate Perrotti interviewed had not worked for a college, he said.
“My impression is that he’s a very experienced professional and my sense is we’ll work together very well,” Perrotti said.
Perrotti said he and Aylward discussed University security at the interview, but Aylward did not make any specific security recommendations at that time.
Before working for Minnesota, Aylward worked for the federal Department of Justice, Highsmith said.
“He did training for police and security personnel in sensitive locations overseas,” she said.
Aylward also was chief of police in Middletown, Conn., where he worked with Wesleyan University. There, Highsmith said, Aylward’s department endured controversy after four black students were arrested. Highsmith said the controversy surrounded the department, rather than the behavior of Aylward himself, and that he handled the situation properly.
Aylward will arrive on campus in late March or early April, Highsmith said. Aylward could not be reached for comment Thursday and is away from Minnesota on short-term medical leave, Hestness said.
Highsmith said she does not expect Aylward to overhaul the Yale security system, but he will oversee maintenance of the existing system and improvements in security to the renovated residential colleges.
“I don’t think there are any problematic areas that he’s been chosen to straighten out,” she said. “The system continues to expand and we always need to be working on that.”