Binghamton’s New York State University Police is getting a new chief, and with him could come changes in the department’s approach to campus policing.
Last week, BU announced that John Pelletier, currently a lieutenant for UPD, will serve as the University’s new chief of police, beginning on Dec. 13. Pelletier said he wants to get settled into his role before making any changes, but ultimately, he hopes to expand UPD’s Community Response Team. According to Pelletier, he will also be researching new ways to increase campus security.
Pelletier said his daughter, who graduated from the University in 2015, gave him an important outlook on his new role.
“She gave me a great perspective of the challenges that students face and gave me an empathetic eye for their perspective,” Pelletier said. “She gave me a unique look at college life at BU.”
Pelletier, who has been with UPD for 11 years, said he intends to use his experience with BU’s campus to smoothly transition into his new role. He will be the second chief to start his policing career at UPD before being promoted to chief of police. According to Pelletier, he will initially aim to observe police operations and hear feedback from campus community members.
“I want to establish myself in the new position and get to know all the people and how we interact in the community,” Pelletier said.
Before becoming an officer with UPD, Pelletier enlisted in the U.S. Army at 18 years old, three days after he graduated high school, and served for 21 years. He earned his first leadership position, direct line supervisor, at 19.
“Leadership positions there and here really prepared me to take over more responsibility,” Pelletier said. “Dealing with people and leading them in a daily basis are important things that they looked at a lot during the interview process.”
After retiring from the U.S. Army in 2004, he joined UPD in 2007 with the goal of eventually becoming chief of police.
“Anytime an opportunity presents itself, it’s always best to take it,” Pelletier said. “By the time I got here, I was thinking about how to advance in the department and use my skills to make the department better.”
Timothy Faughnan, BU’s current chief of police, will become the University’s associate vice president of emergency services after Pelletier takes over. According to Faughnan, Pelletier is an experienced officer who will bring new ideas to UPD.
“The transition will be relatively easy because John [Pelletier] works with us and knows the department well,” Faughnan said. “He brings fresh eyes to the job and I have laid down the foundation, but there’s still a lot to be done and John will put his own ideas into it.”
Although the new chief of police has been selected, not everything is settled. Faughnan has yet to decide what he will do with the @UPDChief Twitter account, which boasts more than 600 followers. The account, which Faughnan created in 2015, may be transferred to Pelletier.
However, Faughnan may also choose to change the account name and handle, keeping it as he transitions into his new position.
As Pelletier looks ahead to beginning his new role, he said he is excited and nervous.
“After I retired, I had no idea what was in front of me,” Pelletier said. “There’s mixed emotions, but I’m looking forward to the future.”