Police Department Positions Itself to Move Forward

Posted: June 7, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

Michael Lynch, chief of University Police, recently announced the restructuring of his department to include a command staff of eight senior officers. “I liken it to a powerful eight-cylinder engine,” he explains. “When we’re all firing in order, working together, we can’t be stopped.”

By accepting the position of police chief last fall, Lynch also accepted a mandate from university administrators to revamp the department into a more visible, service-oriented operation to better serve the university community. But he says the work actually began a few years ago when new programs and activities were introduced to shift priorities of the department from law enforcement to customer service. “I had a good foundation to build on,” he says. “The command staff and officers have worked hard to boost our reputation, level of professionalism, and visibility in the community.”

Lynch approached his new responsibilities with a watchful eye, allowing himself time to observe police operations and departmental procedures. He came aboard during the department’s second reaccreditation process, which provided an excellent opportunity to quickly learn about operational and administrative functions, he explains. The agency was originally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 1991, a national recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.

He started with small steps to enhance the visual image of the department–a new website, redesigned markings on police vehicles that include the website address, and an awards program to recognize outstanding performance by university police officers.

His evaluation of departmental functions resulted in the current organization of a command staff that includes Lynch as chief; John Jenkins, Albert Oglesby, and Paul Malharek as deputy chiefs; and Joan McCall, Norman Barnes, Fletcher Daniels, and Joe Pignatiello as lieutenants. Jenkins, as deputy chief for administration, has responsibility for budgeting, payroll, event billing, central records, and CALEA accreditation. Oglesby, assisted by Daniels (patrol operations) and Pignatiello (support operations), is responsible for activities at the Fairfax Campus, including investigations, training, victim services, and special events. Malharek oversees the distributed campuses, with Barnes assigned to Arlington and McCall assigned to Prince William.

“We identified areas that needed attention and consolidated functions accordingly,” Lynch says. “We looked at our modest, recent accomplishments and then made a list of major projects we want to pursue–that list is now two pages long! With this reorganization, we feel we are in a better position to tackle these projects in an organized, coordinated manner.”

Another big change underway affects the physical appearance of the department. Construction is almost completed on an expansion to police headquarters, which will provide space for most operations currently housed in the South PE Module to relocate to headquarters. “With all commanders at my fingertips, I’m excited about forging ahead,” Lynch says.

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