UIPD chief accepts new position; interim chief to be appointed

URBANA, Ill. – The University of Illinois Police Department will undergo a transition in leadership over the next few months after Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Craig Stone announced Thursday that he has accepted a position and will be returning to Columbus, Ohio.

Chief Stone has been at the helm of the University Police Department since June 2018. His last day will be Jan. 15.

Deputy Chief Matt Myrick will be appointed as the interim executive director of public safety while campus leaders initiate a national search for a permanent department head. Myrick previously served as the interim chief for about six months in 2018 prior to Chief Stone’s arrival.

Chief Stone said that he was not actively seeking new employment during his time at UIPD. However, city leaders in Columbus recruited him to serve as Deputy Director of Public Safety for the City of Columbus. Stone previously worked for the Columbus Division of Police for 29 years, and later as the Chief of Police at The Ohio State University.

“In the past year and a half, we introduced new opportunities for community engagement and strengthened our policies and procedures for keeping the community safe. We worked with stakeholders on and off campus to make our police presence highly visible with the goal of preventing crime and maintaining a safe campus,” Stone said. “I am proud of what we accomplished in a relatively short time. However, the pull of family and home in Columbus was very strong.”

Upon his arrival at UIPD, Stone quickly implemented the department’s Community Police Academy and summer Youth Leadership Camp, both of which are meant to welcome in members of the community to learn more about law enforcement and provide skills and knowledge to encourage participants to become leaders.

During Stone’s time at UIPD, the department hired 20 people to fill new or vacant positions and completed three promotions. Additionally, the department added a third K-9 unit and a crime analyst.

“We want our police departments to look like the communities they serve, and we moved UIPD in a positive direction by hiring and promoting a diverse group of individuals,” Stone said. “The UIPD staff is our greatest asset, and we believe that we have a good foundation for future success.”

Stone also launched an effort to earn accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which is a national standard. UIPD currently has the highest level of accreditation granted by the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, but CALEA is a more stringent process to ensure the department’s policies and procedures follow industry best practices.

“I have been impressed with the professionalism and the unwavering dedication to public safety exhibited by the officers and nonsworn staff at UIPD, and I appreciate that this campus welcomed me into the community,” Stone said. “I know the department will be in good hands with Interim Chief Myrick.”

In messages to UIPD staff and the campus community on Thursday, university leaders expressed their gratitude for Chief Stone’s service and their confidence in Myrick’s steady and dependable leadership.