GVPD, Pew Campus Security to combine departments

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Sgt. William ODonnell

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Sgt. William O’Donnell

Hannah Lentz

Originally published 2/16/2015

As of this year, the Grand Valley Police Department (GVPD) and Pew Campus Security will combine under the lead of Police Chief Renee Freeman as the Department of Public Safety Services. In doing so, it is hoped that response to campus security will be more collective and efficient.

The two areas of campus security have been separate departments since 2004, until this year’s reorganization.

“From calls to service, emergency instances and other elements, collaboration is needed for community growth; this is a great way to achieve optimal response,” said Brandon DeHaan, chief of GVPD.

Changes within the security program will include a title and name change of the department as well as several security changes. There will also be a shifting of offices and space between facility services and the other on campus buildings to prepare for the shift of the Department of Public Safety.

“We will be taking police officer’s responsibilities and repositioning officers into more beneficial roles for optimal safety precautions,” DeHaan said. “We’re really excited about the future of the department.”

Additionally, Freeman named Russell Wolff the assistant chief of police. Wolff had been the director of security for the Pew Campus and Regional Centers since coming to GVSU in 2009.

While Wolff will continue to be responsible for Pew Campus Security, there will be a slight shift in organization. Previously, Wolff had retired from the Meridian Township Police Department as assistant police chief before taking a position at GVSU.

With this repositioning, Sgt. William O’Donnell has taken the position of emergency manager for the GVPD. He is a lieutenant with the Allendale Fire Department as well as a technician with the Ottawa County Hazmat Team and an EMT. Previously, O’Donnell worked for the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. In his position as emergency manager, O’Donnell will work with university preparation to respond to hazards, threats and risks.

“We have been in need of this position for a while now.” DeHaan said. “This reorganization allows for a more beneficial and effective response to emergency situations for faculty, staff and students at GVSU.”

While the repositioning is in full swing, there are still developments to come regarding the presence of law enforcement in different elements of the Pew and Allendale campuses.

“The reorganization of GVPD will not only benefit the police department, but it will also add to the overall safety of both campuses and the communication and partnership between the security programs,” DeHaan said.