Police Chief Joe Roy to retire after 36 years with CU

July 25, 2013

After serving for 36 years with the CU-Boulder Department of Public Safety, Executive Director and Police Chief Joe Roy will be retiring on August 31, 2013. Roy spent 20 years as the director of Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) before his promotion to chief in February 2005. Roy had many accomplishments as police chief and PTS director, including:

  • Guiding DPS efforts to help eliminate the disruptive annual 4/20 gathering.
  • Under very tight timelines, leading DPS efforts to collaborate with the U.S. Secret Service and other agencies on President Barack Obama’s three visits to campus in 2012.
  • Significantly reducing crime on campus. During his tenure as chief, “Part 1 crimes” (such as thefts, burglaries and assaults) have dropped by nearly 20 percent. Due to aggressive enforcement and arrests, bike thefts went from 326 in 2010 to fewer than half that number in the past two years.
  • Drafting two bills that passed through the Colorado Legislature and became law. Among other advances, the bills created a distinct legal foundation for campus police; and granted campus police chiefs the authority to assign officers from other jurisdictions to work temporarily on campuses (used extensively at CU-Boulder during 4/20 and presidential visit operations).
  • Initiating and co-managing the project that led to construction of the Regent Drive and Euclid Avenue parking garages, and the Police and Parking Services Building – all completed in 1991.
  • Leading processes supporting the development and implementation of a Regional Transportation District EcoPass program for CU-Boulder faculty and staff in 1998. The program allows full-time CU-Boulder employees to use buses and other transit modes for free.
  • Collaborating with campus, city and regional partners for development of the “Stampede” bus route connecting East and Main campus.

“It would be hard to walk around campus and not see the impact Joe Roy has had here over the past four decades,” said Louise Vale, vice chancellor for administration. “Joe is one of the longest-serving employees currently at CU-Boulder and we owe him our thanks for all his years of outstanding service.”

Roy graduated from CU-Boulder in 1976 with a degree in political science. He began working as a CU Police patrol officer on June 1, 1977. “Things have changed a lot since I started,” Roy said.

In those days, technology hadn’t compacted basic electronic equipment – the flashlights and pack-set radios that officers carried were very large and heavy. Less-lethal options like the TASER didn’t exist. Patrol cars also looked different. Officers drove with “bubble” emergency lights, as opposed to the more visible and energy-efficient strobe lights used today. They also didn’t have the now-ubiquitous protective barriers that prevent unruly arrestees from attacking officers from the back seat during transport. Driving an arrestee to jail could be an unpleasant adventure.

The university policing environment has also advanced greatly since Roy started. Federal legislation guiding safety processes on campuses such as the Clery Act and amendments to Title IX – and tragic events such as the Virginia Tech shootings – have required campus police departments to enhance their technical capabilities and become more involved with campus partners in support of safety initiatives.

Parking and Transportation Services’ programming also progressed a lot during Roy’s tenure. When Roy began as parking director in 1985, the department maintained all of its records manually, and the parking industry offered little in the way of technical support. Since then, PTS has implemented multiple enterprise-level software systems to manage its business operations, and a broad variety of technologies to support management and delivery of its services. After implementation of the Faculty/Staff EcoPass program, Roy hired an alternative transportation program manager. The collaborative efforts of the city of Boulder’s Community Transit Network, the EcoPass program, PTS’ alternative transportation program manager and the CU Environmental Center helped the campus avoid building a third parking structure for more than 20 years. 

Roy held many police positions – including detective, corporal, sergeant, training sergeant, interim patrol division lieutenant, captain and police chief. Roy also serves as president of the Colorado Association of Institutional Law Enforcement Directors (CAILED), whose members include the police chiefs and security directors of Colorado public and private higher education campuses.

Serving as a law enforcement officer has meant working on weekends, nights, holidays and at lots of special events. Roy said he is looking forward to retirement and spending more time with his wife, three children and six grandchildren.

“I’ve only missed working at three football games at Folsom Field in the past 34 years,” Roy said. “I’m looking forward to having much more time to spend as I like.

 “I’m proud of my time here. CU-Boulder is a great place to work. It’s a dynamic environment where the students and faculty are on the leading edge – and they expect a lot of their Public Safety Department. It makes for a vibrant and challenging work environment that I will really miss.”

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