Chief Morris to resign; national search underway for chief of police operations

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Keith Morris, chief of police operations for Penn State University Police and Public Safety, has announced he will resign effective Feb. 28 so that he can pursue other professional opportunities and spend more time with his family.

“It was with deep regret that I recently accepted the resignation of Keith Morris, chief of police operations, as he will be leaving Penn State next month to pursue a new professional endeavor that will allow him to spend more time with his family,” said Charlie Noffsinger, assistance vice president of University Police and Public Safety. “I understand why Keith has made this difficult decision, and I’m grateful for the contributions and leadership he has provided the department over the last two years.”

Morris said, “As a Penn State alumnus, I have truly valued my time at Penn State, and while this is the right decision for me, I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to serve as a law enforcement leader at Penn State, a world-class institution with a police agency known for its professionalism.”

The University has launched a national search to find Morris’ replacement.

“Chief Morris and his professional expertise will be missed; however, I am confident a national search will yield a candidate that allows University Police and Public Safety to continue its upward momentum,” said David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business.

Morris joined Penn State in 2017 as chief of police at University Park, after serving as police chief in the Allentown Police Department. In 2018, he was named chief of police operations, overseeing 22 campuses with University Police services, following the retirement of his predecessor, Mike Lowery. At that time, Deputy Chief Tom Sowerby became commander of the University Park police station. Sowerby remains the commanding officer at University Park.

Established in 1926 as Campus Patrol, today Penn State University Police and Public Safety is responsible for protecting and serving more than 100,000 students, employees and visitors at 22 campuses located throughout Pennsylvania.

In 2017, Penn State centralized University Police and Public Safety by combining campus-based units into one cohesive department under the direction of the assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety.

University Police and Public Safety houses University Police, a full-service police department with sworn police officers who have full arrest powers. University Police also includes specialized services and units, such as a K-9 Unit, Criminal Investigations Unit, and Community-Oriented Policing Unit.

University Police is divided into six districts in Pennsylvania: northwest, southwest, central, southeast, northeast and University Park, each led by a district commander. During this transition, all district commanders will report to Noffsinger.

University Police and Public Safety also houses behavioral threat management, Clery compliance, emergency management, and physical security.

Last Updated August 06, 2020