In another step in the continuing reorganization of the University’s security agencies, University Police Chief Joe Piersante has been named chief operations officer of the Division of Public Safety and Security and director of University Security Services.

Piersante will continue in his position until a new chief has been selected. The Spelman and Johnson Group, a search firm that specializes in higher education, has been hired to assist in the search for a replacement.

When Piersante first took the top post, the University’s Police force was known as the Department of Public Safety. He first served as interim executive director of public safety in February 2011, when former director Ken Magee went on sick leave.

Later that year, he again assumed the role of executive director on an interim basis after former chief Greg O’Dell returned to his previous job as director of public safety and chief of police at Eastern Michigan University. O’Dell committed suicide just a month later.

For most of the last two years, Piersante has prevailed over a law enforcement organization that has been partly blamed for serious communication issues, and as a result, the agency has gone through immense change, including the formation of the Division of Public Safety and Security to unite Housing Security, Hospital Security, and Police under one umbrella organization.

As DPSS COO and USS director, Piersante will oversee several different major security initiatives, including infrastructure management, museums security, coordination of safety and security efforts for major events, contract security and administration of the University’s 911 Communications Center.

In a statement released Friday, DPSS executive director Eddie Washington, Jr. praised Piersante’s work both as chief and as interim director of DPSS.

“I’m very appreciative of the many years of successful service that Joe has made to the university and to the police department,” Washington said. “When the new division was formed last fall, Joe willingly took on the additional role to lead the transition. I’m grateful that his leadership will continue to benefit our community through our campus security efforts.”

Washington said DPSS has now chosen to appoint a new chief because Piersante’s expertise is needed at a strategic level.

“As the new Division has continued to evolve, we recognized a greater need at the Division level for Joe’s expertise,” Washington said. “To meet the strategic plans and goals of the Division and the Police Department, we needed to expand Joe’s role.”

The job posting notes that a successful candidate for UMPD chief must have a bachelor’s degree, leadership experience in law enforcement and, among other things, an understanding of student life. The posting does not detail exactly how much experience a qualified candidate should have.

Spelman and Johnson Group will be compensated one-third of the first year salary of the new UMPD chief, which could range from $150,000 to $160,000, according to officials.

Andy Burchfield, the University’s director of emergency management, will serve as chair of the search committee. In addition, the following people will serve on the committee:

• AAPD Deputy Chief Greg Bazick
• DPSS executive assistant Lori Blough
• Jeffery Frumkin, associate vice provost in academic affairs
• Sabrina Garrett-Owens, associate director of labor relations in U-M Human Resources
• Bob Heighes, Eastern Michigan University chief of police
• UMPD Lt.Crystal James
• Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones
• LSA junior Emily Lustig, U-M student, chair of the Central Student Government’s Commission of Campus Safety and Security and a neighborhood ambassador in the Beyond the Diag program
• Tim Lynch, vice president and general counsel
• Jeff McDole, IT planning manager for DPSS
• Jeff Moelich, executive director of University Audits
• David Moran, clinical law professor and member of the University Police Oversight Committee
• Teresa Oesterle, chief administrative officer of DPSS
• Tom Peterson, associate director for operations and support services in U-M Hospitals and Health Centers
• Kate Rychlinski, assistant director of risk management

Applications for the position of University Police Chief will be reviewed beginning Oct. 16, 2013.

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