Police Chief Jeff Christensen to retire

URBANA – University of Illinois Police Chief Jeff Christensen will complete a 32-year law enforcement career when he retires at the end of December.

Christensen chose to make the announcement now to allow the campus enough time to ensure there is no disruption to the department’s efforts to maintain the safety of the campus community. Deputy Chief Matt Myrick is expected to be name interim chief of police beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

UIPD has not been without Christensen since he started as an undergraduate Student Patrol officer in 1983. He was hired as a police officer upon his graduation from Illinois in 1985 with a degree in sociology, formally beginning a law enforcement career that would see him take on responsibilities in crime prevention, field training, community-oriented policing, special events, street crimes and as the department’s commander on the multi-jurisdictional Metro SWAT team, among other duties.

Christensen is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and holds a master’s degree in education from Illinois. Since 1991, he has been an adjunct faculty member at Parkland College, where he teaches courses in criminal justice.

Since the beginning, Christensen has held a strong belief in the effectiveness of community-based policing and has worked to orient the department in that direction.

“I’m honored and fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in and take a leadership role in a sincerely community-based police agency staffed with incredibly professional and passionate individuals,” Christensen said.

Christensen said he is leaving with mixed emotions, but after a 32-year career, it is ultimately the right decision for himself and his family.

More information will be forthcoming on the search process for the next chief of police.