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ASU police chief pursues new opportunity after 14 years of service

Arizona State University Chief of Police John Pickens
June 10, 2014

Arizona State University Chief of Police John Pickens is pursuing a new opportunity after 14 years of service. Pickens initially was hired as the director/chief of police for the Department of Public Safety at ASU's Tempe campus, after serving as director of public safety at Northern Illinois University.

“I have given much thought to what I would like to accomplish during the next phase of my life,” Pickens said. “After 14 years of service, it is time to pass the baton to someone else. It has been an honor to serve as the chief of police at ASU.”

Pickens will continue to serve as ASU police chief while a national search is completed and until his successor is on board, said Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s executive vice president, treasurer and CFO. He then will assume his new duties as executive director of University Security Initiatives.

Pickens’ duties in this new role will include overseeing expansion of the university’s video security system and other emerging public safety technologies, assisting the Office of Emergency Preparedness in ensuring that ASU is positioned for effective emergency response and recovery, and leading security planning for the Sun Devil Stadium project.

Among the accomplishments achieved during Pickens’ tenure as ASU police chief are the following:

• All marked police vehicles have been equipped with in-car video recording systems and enhanced communications.

• Expansion of the community-based policing program by establishing internal and external partnerships and a team-building philosophy to promote higher levels of service to the university community. 

• Establishment of the Chief’s Advisory Board to enhance communication and problem solving within the department. 

• Reorganization of the university’s police functions to consolidate the West, Polytechnic and Tempe campus police departments under his leadership, in accordance with the “One University in Many Places” philosophy.  

• The 2006 implementation of law enforcement and security services at the newly-formed ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, using a new model designed specifically to meet the unique nature of that campus. 

• Expansion of the police aide ranks, which often are used as a recruitment pool for ASU Police officers.

• Aggressive pursuit of grants that allowed upgrading the 9-1-1 system to include police vehicle laptops and implementation of the Live-Scan fingerprint system.

• Development of a new, state-of-the-art police facility on the Tempe campus, including a sophisticated Emergency Operations Center.

• Four successful reaccreditations through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, including the department’s 2008 reaccreditation as a “Flagship Agency.”

• Reduction of the department’s carbon footprint by adding hybrid vehicles, Segways and three-wheeled motorcycles for patrolling ASU campuses.

• Legislative testimony successfully supporting the university’s ban of firearms on its campuses.

“Chief Pickens’ many contributions during his years of leadership have made the ASU community a safer place to work, study and live,” Olsen said. “I join many in thanking John for his commitment to ASU and the communities in which we are located.”

Contact James Hardina, ASU assistant chief of police, at 480-965-2797 with questions about Pickens’ announcement.