Vanderbilt University chief of police Marlon Lynch will head a newly created U of C department to coordinate the University’s police and transportation services, starting February 2. Vice President for Civic Engagement Anne-Marie Lipinski, who announced the hire in an e-mail to the community yesterday, will oversee the new Safety and Security Department.
Lynch will supervise the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) and Campus Transportation and Parking Services, and will look for ways to streamline administrative organization between the two. He will also be responsible for enhancing the capabilities of the UCPD through advanced training and new technologies.
Lynch and Lipinski were unavailable for comment.
The department was created in response to recommendations by the Campus Safety and Security Committee, itself created soon after graduate student Amadou Cisse was murdered last fall. The search to fill Lynch’s position has been ongoing since last May.
“We did a national search and from that search we had over 120 applicants for the position,” Associate Vice President for Civic Engagement Sonya Malunda said. “Marlon really jumped out because of his poise, his communication skills, his previous work in both law enforcement and transportation, his ability to bring a diverse set of operations under one unit, and his ability to be a great team player.”
The administration convened a five-student committee to help interview the final three candidates last quarter. Lynch, a native Chicagoan, impressed committee member and fourth-year College Council representative Kati Proctor.
“I was looking for the candidates’ willingness to work with students when they were concocting new policies because they’re in charge of so many things that affect students,” she said. “They were all proactive, but [Lynch] knows the beat of Chicago, knows what it’s like here.”
Faced with a field of compelling candidates, the student committee was not unanimously in favor of Lynch. One student committee member said he recommended the University choose a police chief from a urban university in the western United States who advocated mobilizing Hyde Park residents to aid in security efforts.
"He had a plan to get the community more involved in the surrounding neighborhood where the crime comes from. He had a good understanding of the crime problem here," second-year Ian Chase said. "But I can see why the University hired [Lynch]. They were both good at communicating with the students."
Lynch began his career in 1993 as a police officer in Okemos, MI. He soon served in a series of command positions in several southern university police departments, including the University of North Carolina–Charlotte, Southern Methodist University, and Vanderbilt.
Lynch has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice, and is a graduate of the FBI national academy and the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. He is also an associate at Margolis Healy and Associates, a campus safety consulting firm.