Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins will become Yale’s director of public safety on Nov. 16 while maintaining his role as chief, University officials announced Thursday.
As director of public safety and chief of police at Yale, Higgins’ new responsibilities will include managing police officers, security operations and security systems, according to Janet Lindner, deputy vice president for human resources and administration. She explained that Higgins’ promotion to the newly created position is part of Yale’s ongoing efforts to integrate and upgrade security on campus.
“I am truly humbled,” Higgins said, in reference to his upcoming appointment. “It is an extraordinary opportunity.”
Dan Killen, the director of Yale Security Operations, and George Hines, the director of Yale Security Systems, will retain their positions, Lindner said. But Killen and Hines will now report to Higgins, who will continue to report to Lindner.
Lindner cited Higgins’ leadership skills, broad public safety knowledge and his understanding of the unique safety issues urban Ivy League campuses face as reasons for his promotion.
She said Yale’s police and security departments work together closely, making campus safer by deterring and responding quickly to crime.
Though Yale students may not be aware, Lindner said, several groups collaborate to ensure campus safety. Alarm and access control systems, emergency blue phones and mobile safety applications are all part of the network of safety initiatives the University uses, she said, adding that the police officers, security patrols and the late-night shuttle service are also part of Yale’s collaborative safety efforts.
“We are also fortunate to have a leader like Chief Higgins, who has the capability and skills to see the long-term needs of the campus at the same time that he organizes daily operations,” Lindner said. “To me, having Chief Higgins also take on security systems and security operations is the logical next step in what has always been strong cooperation.”
Assistant Chief of Police Michael Patten, who has worked with Higgins for 19 years, echoed Lindner’s statements about the necessity of cooperation between Yale’s police and security departments.
“I believe he has the skills necessary to create synergy between the police and security departments to lead Yale Public Safety forward in meeting the many challenges we face in protecting our community,” Patten said.
Lindner said Higgins and his team have developed strategies to reduce crime at Yale that have resulted in the lowest on-campus crime levels since the department began documenting crime rates as part of Federal Uniform Crime Reporting statistics in 1985.
Higgins became Yale’s chief of police in 2011.