Published: Feb. 9, 2022
Commander Paula Balafas

The University of Colorado Police Department (CUPD) will bid farewell to Commander Paula Balafas later this month, as she becomes the first female police chief at the University of Arizona. After serving CU Boulder for nearly five years and earning two degrees here (bachelor's and master's degrees in English), Balafas said she’ll always be a Buff. 

“Leaving CU Boulder and CUPD is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but I believe I can positively impact the culture at UAPD while also getting the opportunity to take my career to the next level,” she said.

Balafas’s move, announced Thursday, helps propel the Pac-12 to the head of the pack when it comes to women in police leadership roles. The conference will soon boast five female chiefs, including CUPD Chief Doreen Jokerst, along with chiefs at UC Berkeley, Stanford and Oregon State. Balafas will assume the role in early March.

“We are excited for Commander Balafas as she takes this next step in her policing career. As Pac-12 chiefs, we will continue to collaborate on progressive initiatives that build trust with our university communities,” said Jokerst, who added she’s proud of the trusted commander who was often appointed as acting chief if Jokerst was out of town.

Balafas, who has more than 32 years of campus and municipal law enforcement experience, thanked Jokerst for her support. 

“She has modeled what it means to be a transformational leader,” Balafas said. “I will take with me the ‘blueprints’ for CUPD’s many successful programs, such as the embedded victim advocate and co-responder programs, and the domestic violence lethality assessment tools, giving CUPD credit for those innovations.”

News of Balafas’ new post was lauded by the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, who celebrated her contribution to their mission of promoting women in policing. Balafas is a past president of the organization.