Security steps up
After nearly a yearlong vacancy for the position, Tom Ogden reported for his first day of duty as director of campus security and chief of University Police last Monday.
Ogden, who served as the chief of police of Mount Lebanon for 10 years, succeeds Creig Doyle. Doyle was chief of University Police from 2001 until Sept. 21 of last year, when he resigned to take a position as the chief of police at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. In the interim between Doyle and Ogden, Lieutenant John Race of University Police served as acting chief.
A committee of faculty, staff, and students was charged with finding a new chief of police after Doyle’s resignation. The committee was comprised of 24 members and included Lieutenant Race and Student Body President Jared Itkowitz.
The selection process took longer than usual due to Doyle’s unexpected resignation, according to Michael Murphy, vice president for Campus Affairs.
Murphy, who was not a part of the selection committee, is confident that Ogden’s experience will make him an impressive leader.
“Chief Ogden comes to us from Mount Lebanon, where he was enormously well respected,” Murphy stated in an e-mail. “He also has a terrific reputation throughout the Commonwealth and beyond, where he has done a great deal as a trainer, accreditor, and speaker.”
Ogden decided to leave the Mount Lebanon police department after recently reaching pension age. “Once you’re eligible for pension, you’re working, essentially, for nothing,” Ogden said. “I still have a lot of desire and energy for [police work].”
Though Ogden was offered other positions, he felt Carnegie Mellon was the best fit for him.
“Carnegie Mellon is just, in my mind, very prestigious,” Ogden commented.
Ogden brings 29 years of experience in law enforcement to his new position at the university. He has served as a patrolman, criminal investigator, lieutenant, commander, deputy chief of police, and chief of police in various local departments.
Ogden also has a strong background in management and efficiency review, including positions as a consultant to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Center for Local Government Services and a commissioner on Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. Although he hopes that his ability to identify inefficiencies and weaknesses will help him strengthen the University Police, he insists that he will not be making any drastic changes to the department right away.
“My intention isn’t to come in here and change what I think is a legendary culture; my hope is to come in here and be accepted by the culture,” Ogden said. “After I spend some more time here, I’ll do an internal review — look at efficiency.”
During his tenure as director of campus security, former chief Doyle benefited from Ogden’s expertise.
“Before I started my position in 2001, some professional colleagues identified [Ogden] as a very professional police chief, as a good mentor for me and a great professional contact for me,” Doyle said. “He was very helpful to me during our state accreditation effort.”
Ogden is hesitant to make statements about the strengths and weaknesses of the department because he is so new to the position. He did say that he thinks the department is currently operating “very well” and that the level of service the University Police provide to students is remarkable.
The recent increase in the armed and unarmed robbery of students in areas adjacent to campus is an area of concern for Ogden. He cites strong personal relationships with the FBI, University of Pittsburgh police, and police units at the city, county, and state level as one way of combating future off-campus incidents.
“I’m real comfortable knowing that I’m going to be able to sit down with people and say, ‘Here’s the problem. I don’t have direct jurisdiction in this area but maybe we could try this,’ ” Ogden said.
Although Pittsburgh city police, University of Pittsburgh police and Carnegie Mellon University Police already cooperate with one another and participate in information sharing, Ogden is committed to doing “whatever it takes” to increase inter-jurisdictional communication and crime prevention.
Entering a new workplace, especially in a position of great power, can be an awkward transition, but Ogden says the Carnegie Mellon community has been extremely welcoming.
Ogden welcomes any and all input from students.
“E-mail, call me, stop in, whatever,” he said. “My goal is to get everyone through this school with a diploma safely and happily.”