U police chief takes campus public safety position

by Brad Ellingson

As of last Saturday, George Aylward wears two hats.

Aylward, University police chief for two and a half years, accepted a position as interim assistant vice president for public safety. But he will remain head of University police.

In an e-mail addressed to deans, directors and department heads, University President Mark Yudof announced the decision to appoint Aylward for the newly created position in response to growing security needs on campus coupled with the need for structural changes.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Aylward said.

Prior to becoming University police chief, Aylward worked as a project manager in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Aylward said having a more centralized structure for public safety will be key to preventing problems.

Yudof said he wants to review the organizational structure of University Services after the departure of Vice President for University Services Eric Kruse at the end of February.

“This decision was really to respond to the president’s concern that planning and management of security be centralized,” said Sandra Gardebring, vice president for University relations. “I would say this is a first step in that regard.”

Aylward will report to Yudof for budget and policy issues and to University Services for daily matters.

In addition to his police chief responsibilities, Aylward will oversee the Office of Emergency Management and proposed Central Monitoring Office.

Aylward said the Central Monitoring Office is still in its early stages, and he said the University should soon determine the office’s responsibilities.

Judson Freed, deputy director of emergency management, said not much will change with Aylward’s appointment.

“As far as how we’re going to respond, there’s no confusion. The only new changes are going to be whose budget does what where,” Freed said.

Both Aylward and Freed said hiring more personnel could help, but their department’s size will be affected by the University’s current budget constraints.

“It basically happened on Friday. We were told a little bit in advance, but not much,” Freed said. “We’re still working out some of the internal details.

“The good news is there are no huge glaring things that, if we don’t change it tomorrow, are going to cost lives or money,” he said.

Brad Ellingson covers faculty and
administration and welcomes
comments at [email protected]