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Marlon C. Lynch looks forward to position as MSU police chief and VP for public safety

February 5, 2021
Marlon C. Lynch will serve as the chief of the Michigan State University Police Department (MSUPD) and as vice president for public safety. | Photo Courtesy of MSU Communications
Marlon C. Lynch will serve as the chief of the Michigan State University Police Department (MSUPD) and as vice president for public safety. | Photo Courtesy of MSU Communications —

On Feb. 2, MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced he selected Marlon C. Lynch as the sixth chief of the Michigan State University Police Department (MSUPD). Lynch will also serve as vice president for public safety.

Lynch will start at MSU on April 1 after the Board of Trustees approves his position at its Feb. 12 meeting.

This position was initially announced as chief of police and director of the MSUPD. However, Stanley said in an email that Lynch's "expertise with the university’s desire to advance inclusion, and more specifically, promote equity in law enforcement communication, engagement and practice" caused him to give Lynch the role of vice president.

Lynch holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from MSU.

Lynch served as Vice President for Global Campus Safety at New York University from September 2016 to March 2019.

He was responsible for campus safety including public safety, emergency preparedness, security technology, compliance, community outreach, professional standards and transportation with annual operating budget in excess of $60 million.

"NYU is a global institution," Lynch said. "It has campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and an additional 12 global academic centers where NYU students study waste sites, taught by NYU faculty. (It's) a pretty large operation and establishing it globally was a test, but I truly enjoyed it. To experience being on six continents, I've traveled three weeks out of the month and was able to build a team to support the network while establishing a relationship with the students."

Lynch was also the ex-Officio Chair of the Emergency Management Advisory Council and part of the Executive Management Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Audit & Compliance Committee at NYU.

From March 2019 to February 2020, Lynch served as Senior Vice President for Campus Services and Safety at NYU. He said he had a "very great experience overall" but the amount of travel became unsustainable.

"It was great to experience all the cultures I did in my time at New York," he said. "We initially had maybe 300 members or so within the Department of Public Safety globally and we grew it."

Lynch currently works at the University of Utah as chief safety officer, a new cabinet-level position in which The University Police and the health system security, which are unarmed security officers, report to him.

"After the tragic death of a student-athlete, Lauren McCluskey, the after-action review recommended a cabinet-level position with someone who has experience with public safety, but also communicates directly with university leadership," Lynch said. "So that's what we've done. There's been a lot accomplished in the past year in regards to that and it's going well. A lot has changed with a lot more to continue, but the framework is in place. With great preparation, I have returned to MSU in this capacity."

Lynch also served on the President’s Campus Safety Task Force, the Public Safety Advisory Committee, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and was Ex Officio of the Security Systems Advisory Committee at the University of Utah.

Lynch said his roles at New York University and the University of Utah have prepared him for this role at MSU.

"I've had the pleasure of having one of the most diverse departments on campus where I've worked, and I had to be intentional to do that," he said. "I see this as a great opportunity at MSU to do the same thing. An institution like MSU is very diverse. Our department should reflect the population of the community that it serves. I think there are plenty of opportunities to do that."

He plans to work with MSU's Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Jabbar R. Bennett, and solicit input from students to accomplish that in the MSUPD. Lynch also said that another way he plans to diversify the department is through the university's criminal justice program.

"I'm a product of the internship program there," Lynch said. "They're working with the local police department, and having that access to professionals and career opportunities there, I know that MSU Police Department currently does that as well. I just want to expand the efforts. I think there are plenty of opportunities to do that and work to have that level of diversity that will help us be a lot more effective with community engagement."

After all these years, Lynch described being back at MSU as "emotional."

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"As a good friend of mine told me, 'You're over the moon to be back' and that's quite accurate," he said. "I'm usually not an emotional person, but a smile has been there for a long time since the decision was made. I'm just looking forward to it. MSU means a tremendous amount to me, not just for professional reasons, but personally, as well."


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