Criminology alum named chief of police at University Park
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Keith Morris, chief of the Allentown Police Department in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has been named chief of police at Penn State’s University Park campus, effective April 20.
Morris succeeds Mike Lowery, who has served as interim chief of police at University Park since January 2016. Lowery will transition into a new role as director of operations within University Police and Public Safety, where he will oversee police field operations for Penn State’s Commonwealth campuses.
“Chief Morris is a dedicated and proven law enforcement leader with a demonstrated track record of fostering community relations and stakeholder engagement, having a strong commitment to community policing and promoting diversity, accountability and transparency within his department,” said Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety at Penn State. “While we are delighted that Keith will be joining our team, we are equally appreciative of Mike Lowery for stepping in as interim chief and serving as a steadying force for our department during this time of transition.”
Morris, who is a Penn State alumnus, will be responsible for the overall management and administration of police and security operations at University Park, including overseeing approximately 50 sworn officers, responding to emergency situations, and coordinating with University leadership and local law enforcement officials.
“I am truly honored to have been afforded this opportunity, as I have Penn State to thank for where I am today and have always wanted to be able to give back to the University,” Morris said. “Penn State is a world-class institution, and the police department is well known for its professionalism, so I am excited about being a member of the Penn State team. I look forward to continuing the professional service that defines Penn State University Police and employing a department-wide community policing philosophy, as well as establishing solid relationships with the faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders.”
A 20-year veteran of the Allentown Police Department, Morris became interim police chief in October 2015 before being named permanent chief in September 2016. Morris started with the department as a patrol officer in 1997 and was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2007. He was promoted again to patrol captain in 2010, and in 2013 he became captain of investigations, where he was the commanding officer responsible for the daily operations of the department’s investigative units. Morris was named assistant chief of Support Services in December 2013. Morris also spent time as a detective in both the Criminal Investigations Division and the Vice and Intelligence Unit, and he served as director of training at the Gerald M. Monahan Sr. Allentown Police Academy.
Morris earned a bachelor of science in administration of justice from Penn State in 1995 and a master of arts in criminal justice from DeSales University in 2013. He also attended both the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy Police Executive Development Program.