Retiring Police Chief looks back on her time at UConn

UConn's chief of police, Barbara O'Connor, is retiring on June 1. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

The chief of the University of Connecticut Police Department (UCPD) will be retiring on June 1, after four years at the university.

During those four years, chief Barbara O’Connor has a memorable experience, she said.

“I think of 2014: winning the men’s and women’s national championships was pretty special,” O’Connor said. “Being a part of the campus and university was fun.”

That night was very busy on the police side because of all the parties going on but it was still a fun night, O’Connor said.

The most memorable crime related event that occurred was an attempted abduction that occurred in 2012, and the person was found a few hours later.

“It was really excellent work done by the officers and the dispatchers,” O’Connor said. “It allowed me the opportunity as a new chief to see how we functioned, and they did a great job.”

One of the biggest achievements at UConn was having a good overall culture at UCPD, O’Connor said.

“To me it has always been important to have an organization with a culture of professionalism, fairness, innovation, inclusiveness,” O’Connor said. “We really increased our diversity at UConn since I’ve been chief, and I think all of those things are really important.”

When it comes to UConn’s administration, O’Connor had nothing negative to say.

“President Herbst is a real supporter of public safety,” she said. “She’s been great to work with.”

Herbst was instrumental in passing a law that changed how police officers are hired at UConn, O’Connor said.

“That law was really important to me and I would not have been able to do that without her support and active involvement,” O’Connor said. “That one change significantly changed the department and will change and make an impact for years to come.”

Despite being happy with the culture at UCPD and the university administration, there is always room for improvement at the department, she said.

“Improvement is a continuing process,” she said. “You never just accept the fact that you have achieved all that you can achieve. It has to be continuous and constant change striving for new ways to do things. You have to position the organization to be innovative.”

Those who are part of UCPD already think this way, they are in a good position to do great things, O’Connor said.



Annabelle Orlando is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at annabelle.orlando@uconn.edu. She tweets @AnnabelleOrland