Retirement of UC Director of Public Safety James Whalen

President Neville G. Pinto announces national search for UC's next director of public safety

The below message from President Pinto was shared with the UC community today:

James Whalen

James Whalen

University Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police James Whalen has informed me that he will retire from the university early in 2022. 

Director Whalen stepped into his current role in Fall 2015 with a strong regional and national reputation for building bridges and engaging in collaborative community partnerships. He was and is widely recognized and known as a persistent and successful advocate for community engagement as the key to good public safety measures.

His previous track record as a Cincinnati assistant chief, where he supported data-driven public safety and policing efforts within the Cincinnati Police Department in the wake of 2001 civil unrest, has also proved itself at the university. Director Whalen has been instrumental in multi-year reforms to UCPD’s policies and practices, furthering and sustaining a culture of inclusion, accountability and transparency following the tragic killing of Samuel DuBose.

The UC-UCPD Community Compliance Council has stated that UCPD under Director Whalen serves as a national model in how to initiate, conduct and complete important reforms in partnership with community and campus leaders, academic researchers and international experts. 

I want to personally thank Director Whalen for always striving to do and be better and for his recognition that more progress is and will always be needed when it comes to the role of policing within our communities.

Search committee

The university will launch a national search for Director Whalen’s permanent successor. The search committee for a new director of public safety/chief of police will be chaired by Bleuzette Marshall, PhD, vice president for equity, inclusion and community impact, who will provide future updates. Serving with her on that committee will be students, faculty, staff and community representatives: 

  • April Gable, president, Undergraduate Student Government
  • Dominique Tanner, president, Graduate Student Association
  • Greg Loving, chair, Faculty Senate
  • Larry Johnson, dean, CECH
  • Heidi Pettyjohn, chair, Staff Senate
  • John Andrew West, Judge (Retired) and Chair, UC-UCPD Community Compliance Council
  • Greg Baker, past executive director of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, member of the UC-UCPD Community Compliance Council, and retired director of police community relations at UC
  • Debra Merchant, vice president, Student Affairs
  • Teresa Theetge, executive assistant chief, Cincinnati Police Department
  • Lori Ross, vice president, Legal Affairs and General Counsel

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