For almost six years, University police Chief George Aylward has helped create a better relationship between officers and the community.
On March 12, Aylward announced his resignation effective April 2. He will begin a new job as director of security at Yale University in Connecticut.
Aylward declined comment for this story.
When Aylward came to the University in August 1999, the police department was understaffed with no clear plan for the future, according to department records.
“George recruited experienced officers to the University and brought the UMPD to full strength,” said Kathleen O’Brien, University Services vice president.
During his tenure, the emergence of the department’s Five-Year Strategic Community Policing Plan and the Community Investigator division marked its self-improvement mission, police officials said.
The plan, a 13-page document, outlines ways the department can bring itself up-to-date and become more involved in the community by summer 2005.
Before it was put in place, the plan compared the staffing of the department to one in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Community Investigator division is a department unit that assigns an officer to certain sections or departments on campus.
The idea behind the division is that as officers focus their energies on specific areas or departments, their level of expertise and problem-solving in those areas will be heightened, University police Lt. Chuck Miner said.
In addition to modernizing the department, police officials said Aylward’s greatest success at the University was ensuring the department functioned as part of the community, rather than as an outside agency.
“He didn’t just talk, he put words into action. Not only did (Aylward) reach out to the community, he taught (officers) what actions are needed to make community policing work,” University police Capt. Steve Johnson said.
Aylward also took part in merging the University’s three security branches under one umbrella: the Department of Public Safety. This group includes the police department, the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Central Security.
Aylward served as interim assistant vice president for the department and applied for the permanent position. The University hired Greg Hestness.
Under the new umbrella system, the agencies became more accountable for problems that occur on their watch, officials said.
The new arrangement also allows for an increased fluidity in exchanging information between the departments, officials said.
Miner said besides achievements in working with the community, Aylward will be remembered as a forward thinker who led and inspired his officers.
Before coming to the University, Aylward was police chief in Middletown, Conn., and worked for the Department of Justice.
University officials said they have not determined the details involved in the search for a new chief.