Colorado State University announces next chief of police

Jay Callaghan
Jay Callaghan

Colorado State University has named Jay Callaghan, a CSU Police Department captain, as its next chief of police. Callaghan replaces Interim Chief Frank Johnson, who did not apply for the chief’s job and will return to his position as a captain with CSUPD.

Callaghan officially assumes his duties as chief today, Aug. 15.

The announcement comes after a rigorous university search effort, launched in Fall 2021, when the University secured the International Association of Chiefs of Police to manage the search process and identify candidates for the position. The thorough search process involved seeking input from numerous key stakeholders, said Marc Barker, assistant vice president for Safety and Risk Services.

“I am confident that Jay brings to the table a commitment to the University’s entire community – all of our students, faculty and staff – with a focus on continuing to build relationships across the University, city, county, and state, as well as a commitment to diversity, the Principles of Community, university values, and engaging student, faculty, and staff voices on university safety concerns and issues,” Barker said.

CSUPD is a 24-hour, full-service department with officers who are fully certified through the Colorado Police Officer Stands and Training Board. The department follows a “guardianship policing model” that is educationally focused, reciprocally respectful, and centered on community participation. This approach stresses the importance of student health, safety, retention, and academic success.

“The University has high expectations for the chief position, and that includes the expectation that our PD – and all our officers and staff – will be working hard to build strong and positive relationships with the diverse members of our CSU community. This will be a special focus for Chief Callaghan and the entire department in this coming period,” Barker said. “We’re fortunate to be part of an educational community where learning and partnership are deeply held values, and CSUPD has a commitment to continually evolve, change, and adapt to the needs of our community.”

Callaghan has served as CSUPD patrol captain since early 2021, heading up the division that is typically the first to respond to different types of university emergencies, including fire, medical, and law-enforcement incidents. He joined CSUPD from Larimer County, where he served as security manager, responsible for implementing harm mitigation and prevention strategies to provide a safe working environment for all county employees and visitors to more than 50 county facilities.

Prior to moving to Larimer County in 2018, Callaghan worked as a lieutenant for the Norman, Oklahoma, police department, and began his career with the Phoenix Police Department in 1994 as a police officer.

CSUPD has 36 officers and 19 support staff, serving a campus population of about 40,000 people.

As chief, Callaghan is charged with building university and community relationships and partnerships, embracing opportunities to work with diverse community members, creating programs and strategies to enhance the safety of the University community through proactive collaboration and vision, and creating a proactive, safety-focused culture within CSUPD.