Rudy Nimocks, chief of the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) for the past 20 years, stepped down today to fill his new role as the first director of community partnerships. The appointment was announced by Ann Marie Lipinski, vice president for civic engagement, in an e-mail to the University community Thursday.
Marlon Lynch, associate vice president for safety and security in Lipinski’s office, took up the position of chief of the University of Chicago Police as part of his duties, which also include coordinating operations between UCPD, transportation and parking, and security services.
Lynch said he feels comfortable in both roles because he served a similar position at Vanderbilt University, where he worked until February of this year, and because he has a background in municipal and campus law enforcement.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Lynch said. “I’m excited to utilize Rudy Nimocks as a resource and to get started.”
Nimocks explained his duties as director of community partnerships are similar to a role he had to play as chief of police. “I think community outreach is part and parcel of our contemporary law enforcement scene,” he said.
Nimocks is active in a number of Hyde Park institutions, sitting on the steering committee for the New Communities Program in Woodlawn and the board of Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Organization. He was the last chair of the board of Blue Gargoyle, a non-profit that ran family literacy programs and provided job counseling before it closed due to financial constraints last month.
“The people that are engaged in community leadership or who are community leaders are people that I know well, and I’m excited to get to work with them more,” Nimocks said.
Lynch, in his new role, has already started work on mitigating a recent rash of shootings south of the Midway.
“The Chicago Police Department has actually allocated additional staff to work in the areas,” Lynch said. “UCPD is an active member of the task force that has been specifically activated with the violence that has been going on in Woodlawn.”
Nimocks, who spent 33 years in the city police department before becoming the UCPD chief, remarked on what he was proudest of accomplishing at the University.
“I’ve made a significant contribution toward professionalizing the UCPD,” he said. “We have a sterling reputation with the Chicago Police Department and a terrific collaborative relationship with them, notwithstanding the reputation we have with the community we serve.”
That reputation is based in part on falling crime numbers, including a drop of 36 percent last year, “an extraordinary achievement anywhere in this country,” Nimocks said.
Having lived in Woodlawn since 1952, Nimocks developed close ties to the area, as a resident as well as a law enforcement officer.
“Hyde Park is a unique neighborhood, to say the least, and there are some nuances that you have to learn about [as chief of police],” Nimocks said. He added that Hyde Parkers are more active in policing than those of any other neighborhood. “We will find that as [Lynch] goes along, he’s a bright young man and I’m sure he’s up to the task.”
While Nimocks did not impart any advice on his successor, he did reiterate the importance of connecting to the community.
“If you can involve a law enforcement official [in community outreach], it definitely gives him a better insight into the things that are being done, can be done, and gives him a better vision of how a police agency can fit in and make a meaningful contribution to the community,” Nimocks said.