Campus Life

Penn State names new chief of police operations

Joseph Milek will oversee police operations at 22 Penn State campuses

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Joseph Milek, assistant chief of police at Oklahoma State University, has been named chief of police operations for Penn State University Police and Public Safety, effective Aug. 26. In this role, Milek will oversee police operations at 22 Penn State campuses.

Joseph Milek is the police chief for Penn State University Police and Public Safety.  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Milek succeeds Keith Morris, who resigned in February to pursue other professional opportunities and spend more time with his family. Milek will work out of the University Police and Public Safety headquarters at the University Park campus.

“Chief Milek has extensive experience in law enforcement and higher education, which will be a major asset to the department as we continue to grow and develop as one department at 22 campuses across Pennsylvania,” said Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety at Penn State.

Milek has 26 years of law enforcement experience, holding several management and command positions, including assistant police chief at Oklahoma State University and director of public safety and police chief at Xavier University in Ohio. Milek also served in the Cincinnati Police Department for more than 20 years. He has a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Xavier University and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati.

“I am honored to join Penn State University Police and Public Safety because the department is dedicated to serving and protecting the Penn State community with respect, professionalism and accountability,” Milek said. “I am excited to guide a department that subscribes to Penn State’s Values and strives to be a leader in innovative campus policing and public safety practices.”

Penn State selected Milek as chief of police operations following a national search. He will serve alongside John Petrick, chief of police administration, under Noffsinger's leadership. Deputy Chief Tom Sowerby will continue to serve as the commanding officer at the Eisenhower police station at University Park.

University Police is a full-service police division with sworn police officers who have full law enforcement authority with specialized units, including criminal investigations, K-9, bike patrol, bomb technicians, drone, dispatching services, community-oriented policing, and student auxiliary officers.

Established in 1926 as Campus Patrol, today Penn State University Police and Public Safety serves more than 100,000 Penn State students, employees and visitors at locations across the commonwealth. In addition to University Police, the department houses Behavioral Threat Management, Clery Compliance, Emergency Management, and Physical Security.

Last Updated August 06, 2020