Chief applicants present their visions for Mason Police Department

In the first two weeks of April, finalists for the chief of police at George Mason University met with students and held presentations about their vision for the future of the department.

Three finalists were selected to give presentations: Drew Tracy, who is currently serving as interim police chief, Larry Volz and Eric Heath.

Tracy was selected to fill in as interim chief after former chief Mike Lynch decided to switch roles at the department, but ultimately decided to retire. Lynch had been with the department for 13 years.

Drew Tracy

Current Position: Interim Chief of Police, George Mason University

Education: MBA, Hood College

Past Position: Interim Chief of Police, Takoma Park, Maryland

(Photo courtesy of Drew Tracy.)

“The first priority is to re-structure the executive management of the police department and draw new talent, presently we are completing national searches for these positions,” Tracy wrote in an email about his plans if permanently selected for the position.

If selected Tracy would also like to promote a culture of “community policing” and more partnerships with students and other parts of the university.

“I am objective, fair and open-minded and have the experience and knowledge from handling numerous critical incidents in law enforcement,” Tracy wrote. “I would sprinkle that with energy and enthusiasm, which I think is essential in my leadership style.”

Tracy retired as assistant chief of police in Montgomery County in 2011.

Larry Volz, who currently serves as chief of police for the University of the District of Columbia, said he would provide more services to students.

“Campus policing is different than working for the city or county. Actually, working on a campus is harder,” Volz said at a presentation on April 11. “You have to do a lot of community service.”

Larry Volz

Current Position: Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety, University of the District of Columbia

Education: Masters in General Administration, University of Maryland, University College

Past Position: Deputy Chief for Public Safety, University of Maryland, College Park

(Photo courtesy of Larry Volz.)

Volz proposed that university police officers be available to help students jump cars, access vehicles if they’re locked out, provide escorting services at night.

“This is a big college. I like big colleges. I enjoy this environment,” Volz said when asked what brought him to Mason. “I was walking around campus and I loved it. People were laying on the grass drinking coffee. Nobody was throwing anything at me.”

Eric Heath, who currently serves as deputy chief of police in the Support Services Bureau at the University of Chicago, said that he would recruit diverse and flexible new members to the department.

“We need to recruit a specific type of person who can adapt to a university mindset,” Heath said at his April 9 presentation. “It is very important to recruit the right type of people.”

Heath said that he would also like to change the relationship between the police department and the rest of the university.

Eric Heath

Current Position: Deputy Chief of Police—Support Services Bureau, University of Chicago Department of Safety and Security

Education: M.A. Sociology and Criminology, University of Arkansas

Past Position: Lieutenant, Vanderbilt University Police Department

(Photo courtesy of University of Chicago Police Department.)

“I don’t believe students should be treated differently from faculty, staff or community,” said Heath. Everyone should be treated equally, but professionally.”

The university is expected to make a final decision about the police chief in the next couple of weeks.

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