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Brown Daily Herald - Campus News
Issue: 3/18/05


Mark Porter named new DPS chief
By Aidan Levy

The University will announce today that Mark Porter, a 24-year veteran of campus law enforcement, has been named the new chief of police and director of the Department of Public Safety.

Porter will assume his duties as chief of police and director of DPS in April.

Porter comes to Brown from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where he has served as director of public safety for the past nine years. He will replace Interim Chief Emil Fioravanti, who took up the reins in December after former chief Col. Paul Verrecchia resigned from his post and relocated to South Carolina, where he currently serves as chief at the College of Charleston.

Porter's appointment concludes a search that began in December, following a meticulous examination of 90 applicants - a pool consisting of police chiefs at other prestigious universities as well as high-ranking municipal officers from locales as distant as California, said Vice President for Administration Walter Hunter.

The search committee, composed of students, faculty and administrators, has found the "perfect fit" in Porter, Hunter said. With Porter at the helm, DPS will have a mature guide at a critical juncture in DPS history, Hunter said, lauding Porter's previous experience with initiatives that are in precise alignment with the current DPS agenda.

"We're right at the beginning of implementing a more comprehensive community policing plan. He's done that. We are in the implementation phase of arming our officers. He's done that. And he's done both really well," Hunter said.

Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services David Greene echoed Hunter's praise. "I think (Porter has) just the right mix of experience and outlook to be successful at Brown," Greene said. "During the interview process, I really gained great confidence in his intellect and the broad perspective he takes on policing."

Porter, a Boston native, graduated from Northeastern University in 1982 with a degree in criminal justice and is a 1984 graduate of the Municipal Police Academy in Massachusetts. He began his law enforcement career at Simmons College while studying at Northeastern. After graduating, he served in the Division of Public Safety at Northeastern for 12 years, leaving in 1996 to become chief at UMass-Dartmouth.

"Brown University's gain is the University's loss," Jean MacCormack, chancellor at UMass-Dartmouth, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "Chief Porter has provided exemplary leadership at the highest professional level and has made a lasting contribution to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth community."

Porter has spent his entire career policing college campuses. "I've had opportunities to go to the municipal side, but I found the campus environment more satisfying," Porter told the Herald. "I'm very interested in campus communities, especially in an urban environment, and I really want to get more entrenched in Brown's community."

In the spirit of community policing, Porter plans to establish an open door policy, integrating ideas from any of the approximately 10,000 members of the Brown community, in addition to collaborating with the Providence Police Department. While he promises to cultivate a flexible rapport with the campus, Porter plans to make his mark by "fine-tuning the procedure" and "injecting innovative ideas into the current plan" for community policing and arming, he said. Both the arming and community policing initiatives he championed at UMass-Dartmouth went smoothly, he said.

"We wanted our officers to be able to respond to any emergency," he said. "We're very in favor of giving our officers adequate tools so they can do what they were hired to do."

Hunter said he is confident that under Porter's leadership the transition to an armed DPS will have no complications. "He is absolutely the right person at the right time," he said. "He'll do a spectacular job leading the department and help make the University a safer place."
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