Chief Owen Yardley of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department announced his retirement on Tuesday, June 24.
Before joining UNLPD, Yardley worked for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department for 22 years. He began his university tenure in July 2001. Yardley’s last day will be July 12.
“I think 40 years is probably long enough in any one type of job, so I just felt it was time,” Yardley said.
Yardley worked with various departments at UNL to create and develop services provided by campus police. Yardley’s department worked with the Department of Psychology and Public Policy Center to establish the Threat Assessment Program. Additionally, he contributed to the creation of the Emergency Planning and Preparedness at Nebraska, which manages the UNL alert system that works alongside Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and Lancaster County Emergency Management to communicate emergencies to students and faculty.
Campus police also worked with the Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies to develop a campus-wide geographic information system that provides information such as floor plans, utility infrastructure, classroom and building uses.
“Our department has worked well collaboratively with people and other organizations, both on campus and outside the university,” Yardley said. “Those collaborations and others took us into the public-safety realm. They’re not traditionally under law enforcement, but they’re improvements we made for the safety of everyone.”
Recently, Yardley oversaw additions to the department, such as hiring K-9 officers and upgrades to department and campus technology. Additionally, the department received international accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in 2012 under his leadership.
Yardley increased the transparency of the department and educated people on the campus police by promoting community policing efforts through the inaugural Citizen’s Police Academy, held in fall 2018.
“Working with the people — being able to do some creative things — that’s probably been the most enjoyable part, and it sets the university police apart from other types of policing,” Yardley said.
Assistant Police Chief Hassan Ramzah was appointed interim chief. Ramzah has been with the department since 2016. The university said in a press release the search for a permanent chief will be announced in the near future.
“[Yardley] has been a national leader in the area of campus policing, especially with alerts and campus and building monitoring and access. He championed campuswide outreach and built an exceptional team of leaders and officers. We will miss him as a member of our campus community,” vice chancellor of business and finance Bill Nunez said.