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FSU hires first female police chief [Executive Appointments Monitor Worldwide]
[March 22, 2014]

FSU hires first female police chief [Executive Appointments Monitor Worldwide]

(Executive Appointments Monitor Worldwide Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Fitchburg State University President Robert Antonucci named Karen J. Leary on Friday to become the first female police chief of the campus police force.

Leary, who has served as deputy chief of police and deputy director of public safety at Simmons College since July 2011, was selected after a lengthy search by a committee that included representatives from the university and the Fitchburg Police Department.

In a statement, Antonucci said Leary brings "rich and varied experience" to the job.

"She understands the evolving role of campus police in university life and is ideally suited to bring our department to the next level," he said.

Leary said she is looking forward to bringing her public safety philosophy to the university.

"I welcome this opportunity to work with a talented professional police organization and an administration that believes in collaboration and community engagement," she said.

Leary will start her new job on April 14. She will earn $104,000.

Prior to working at Simmons, Leary spent nine years at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was an investigative supervisor and later senior manager of investigations. She also worked nearly two years as an investigator with the state Office of the Attorney General in Boston. She has also taught at the high school and college level.

Leary has a master's degree in forensic science from the University of New Haven and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Westfield State University. She has an associate of science degree in business administration from Holyoke Community College.

She succeeds James Hamel, who retired in December after 40 years with the campus police force.

After Hamel's retirement, the department was managed by Lt. Michael Marcil until his unexpected death in late January at the age of 51. Since then, the Lt. Benjamin McDonald has served as acting chief.

The university received more than 50 applications for the chief's job. The search committee evaluated applicants and developed a slate of semi-finalists, each of whom was brought to the campus for day-long interview sessions with members of the search committee and other campus constituencies.

Feedback from the interviews was given to the search committee, whereupon the list was reduced to two finalists. Each of those candidates completed a day-long evaluation by an outside consultant specializing in public safety. Finally, both finalists underwent a comprehensive background check conducted by a second outside firm.

The university president evaluated all of the gathered data and made a selection.

The Fitchburg State University Campus Police Department includes a chief, two lieutenants, one sergeant, 13 police officers, three full-time dispatchers and a reserve officer.

The department operates 24 hours a day. Its officers are fully trained, licensed, and armed as special state police officers under Massachusetts General Law.

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