UI selects a new chief
There will be no learning curve for the university's next public-safety leader.
The University of Illinois' new police chief is no stranger to the job or the university campus.
Jeff Christensen already has served twice on an interim basis in the chief's post. Beyond that, he is a longtime veteran of the UI department, starting in the student patrol and then joining the force as a patrol officer in 1985.
It is always good to see someone promoted to a top job after working his way up from the ground floor. Christensen has held practically every job in the UI department, and he should be a perfect fit.
Chancellor Phyllis Wise did not make this appointment because Christensen was next in line after UI Police Chief Barbara O'Connor left to take a similar job at the University of Connecticut.
The UI conducted a national search, and Christensen was selected from the three finalists.
Christensen's appointment, which still must be confirmed by UI trustees, makes him the third local chief to take the top job after serving many years in the community.
Urbana Chief Patrick Connelly worked his way up after starting as a patrol officer. New Champaign Chief Anthony Cobb took over his new job after serving many years in the Urbana department.
Now Christensen has done the same at the UI.
Given their years of experience, long familiarity with each other and many mutual problems, community residents can — and should — expect the three chiefs to work together with very positive results.
Since-law enforcement problems don't stop at municipal or campus borders, it's not just reasonable, but imperative, for law enforcement to combine their resources to serve the public interest.