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University of Cincinnati's top cop to retire in early 2022

Whalen has been at UC since 2015
James Whalen is smiling in this portrait. He has short, white hair and is wearing a white shirt, a black and white striped tie and a black suit jacket.
Posted at 11:38 AM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 22:37:47-04

CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati will soon be looking for a new chief of police.

James Whalen, UC's director of public safety and chief of police, will retire from the university in early 2022.

UC President Neville Pinto announced the news in a message Friday.

"Director Whalen stepped into his current role in Fall 2015 with a strong regional and national reputation for building bridges and engaging in collaborative community partnerships," Pinto wrote. "He was and is widely recognized and known as a persistent and successful advocate for community engagement as the key to good public safety measures."

UC hired Whalen as director of public safety in 2015. He added the role of police chief in 2020, when Police Chief Maris Herold left the department last year.

Whalen formerly served as an assistant chief with the Cincinnati Police Department. He supported the department's data-driven public safety and policing efforts after the civil unrest in 2001 following the fatal police shooting of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed Black teenager.

"Whalen has been instrumental in multi-year reforms to UCPD's policies and practices furthering and sustaining a culture of inclusion, accountability and transparency following the tragic killing of Samuel DuBose," Pinto wrote.

A University of Cincinnati police officer fatally shot DuBose on July 19, 2015, during an off-campus traffic stop.

RELATED: No federal charges against former UC officer who shot and killed Samuel Dubose

Pinto wrote that the UC-UCPD Community Compliance Council has stated that the UC Police Department under Whalen serves as a "national model" in how to initiate, conduct and complete important reforms as partners with community and campus leaders, academic researchers and international experts.

"I want to personally thank Director Whalen for always striving to do and be better," Pinto said. "And for his recognition that more progress is and will always be needed when it comes to the role of policing within our communities."

UC will launch a national search for Whalen's permanent successor, Pinto wrote. The search committee for a new director of public safety and chief of police will be chaired by Bleuzette Marshall, UC's vice president for equity, inclusion and community impact. Students, faculty, staff and community representatives will serve with her on the committee, he wrote.