Gary Lewis will join the UofL force Aug. 1.
Gary Lewis will join the UofL force Aug. 1.

A veteran police chief with extensive experience in university and community policing will serve as the next chief of the University of Louisville Police Department.

Gary Lewis, executive director of campus safety and chief of police at Cleveland State University, will join the UofL force Aug. 1. He will follow interim chief Kenny Brown, who has served in that role since the May 2017 retirement of Wayne Hall. Brown will return to his position as assistant chief.

Head of Cleveland State’s operation since 2015, Lewis will bring more than 25 years’ experience in law enforcement and public relations to the position. Prior positions include stints as operations and post commander with the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Columbus and Lancaster. In Columbus, he created Ohio’s first metropolitan patrol post to establish a presence within urban communities. He also served as senior director, media and public relations for The Ohio State University from 2013 to 2015.

Lewis earned a bachelor of science in public safety degree from Franklin University in Columbus and a master of science in criminal justice administration from Michigan State University. He completed Harvard University’s Crisis Leadership in Higher Education program in 2017 and the FBI National Academy’s Executive Management/Leadership Course in 2003.

Lewis is a member of several professional organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

“I look forward to working with the experienced, professional law enforcement officers at the University of Louisville,” Lewis said. “I hope to bring new energy and new ideas to an already outstanding organization. Together, we will work with students, faculty and staff on all our campuses, combining leading-edge techniques with strong experience in community policing to ensure the safest campus for the university community.”

UofL News asked Lewis to answer a few questions to help introduce himself to the university community:

UofL News: What attracted you to the position at UofL?

Lewis: The rich history of the University of Louisville in conjunction with the fine men and women of ULPD made the decision an easy one. The University of Louisville is a premiere institution with new leadership and a great opportunity to become part of Dr. Bendapudi’s vision. 

UofL News: What are your initial thoughts on the UofL Police Department? UofL in general? The Louisville community?

Lewis: There are some amazing men and woman who bring years of experience to the UofL campus with an emphasis on safety. As for the Louisville community, I’m looking forward to joining the Cardinal nation and fully embracing the rich history it has to offer. 

UofL News: How would you describe your leadership style?

Lewis: I would describe my leadership style as highly engaged and by leading from the front. Over the course of my career, I have seen many styles. I like to think I’ve taken some attributes from each of those leaders and developed my leadership style based on those experiences. 

UofL News: Talk about some of your proudest accomplishments in your prior positions. Are there programs you plan to bring to UofL?

Lewis: We initiated a number of new programs during my tenure at Cleveland State. For example, the creation of a police motorcycle unit: a Special Response Team (SRT) for active aggressor instances that may occur on campus; an FBI Student Academy; a Police Student Auxiliary Program where CSU students earned credit hours while learning about the criminal justice profession. Other accomplishments include a partnership with Cleveland Police Department in a horse-mounted unit where both agencies patrolled the campus. Another accomplishment was achieving national accreditation through the Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). I hope to bring similar programs and partnerships to UofL. 

UofL News: Anything personal? Family? Hobbies?

Lewis: I am the proud father of four sons, Cameron, Gary III, Nathanael and Ross. I’m also proud of their commitment to the armed forces, as all are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. I am happily married to my wife, Krysta, and we are both looking forward to the move to the Louisville community. 

John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.