UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- University officials today (April 8) announced the reassignment of Penn State's assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety following a management review that revealed management concerns and a disconnect between supervisors and those reporting to them. Current Police Chief Tyrone Parham will serve as acting assistant vice president until an interim replacement is named. A national search will be conducted for a permanent replacement.
David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, confirmed that Stephen G. Shelow requested to be relieved of his role directing police, public safety and emergency operations at Penn State following the results of a two-month administrative review conducted by internal specialists in conjunction with an outside consultant. Shelow has held the assistant vice president post since 2011. He is now assigned to undertake special projects at the direction of the senior vice president for Finance and Business.
"We came to a difficult mutual decision based on the review findings. It is imperative that our officers and our community have confidence in leadership, at all levels in all areas," Gray said. Gray stressed that no official complaints were lodged against Shelow and there is neither malfeasance nor violations of law in any of the review findings.
"It's simply recognizing the need for an organizational change that can provide people in these critical areas with a clearer vision and direction, and an environment where employees can succeed," Gray said. "Our police and public safety departments are very well-regarded in higher education circles, and have full law enforcement authority."
“Many issues were brought up during the review that need to be fully addressed, and I feel those challenges will best be undertaken with new leadership," Shelow said. "The time has come for me to step away and allow the department and me to move forward in a positive manner."
Over the past several years, University Police and Public Safety at Penn State has strengthened crime prevention through additional training, emergency planning initiatives and ongoing community education programs, such as Self-Defense Awareness, Active Shooter Survival, alcohol and drug awareness, and Theft Prevention. University Police and Safety plays a large role in threat assessment on campus, riot preparedness and business continuity planning, as well as emergency operations planning for all major events to provide guidance to the community on how to react if disaster strikes.
In addition, Clery Act compliance responsibilities are a focus of the unit, which oversaw training of more than 5,000 employees and volunteers, and standardization of the collection of crime data for all campuses.
"The safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our University has been, and continues to be, a top priority," Gray said. "To that end, we will move ahead with our plan to seek accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which has been delayed, and will monitor closely the progress of the department."
CALEA is a credentialing authority whose accreditation program is aimed at improving the delivery of public safety services through the establishment of professional standards, improvement of service delivery, and strengthened crime prevention and control.
The search for a permanent successor to Shelow will begin immediately, Gray said.