CU’s top cop Zak moves to new role
boulder» University of Colorado Police Chief Melissa Zak will leave her post as the school’s top cop to fill the newly created position of assistant vice chancellor of safety.
Zak, who was hired as the CU police chief in 2013 five months after joining the department as a deputy chief, will begin her new duties Jan. 1.
In her new role, Zak will be tasked with the planning of campus safety functions and will manage the campus’s crisis and emergency response. David Kang, who is CU’s vice chancellor for infrastructure and safety and will supervise Zak, said creating this position has been a priority of his since he was also hired earlier this year.
“I think that there are always things that we can do better, so we created this position so we can renew our focus on safety and take it to the next level,” Kang said.
Zak, who was making $163,894 annually as the police chief, will make $179,500 in her new position. She was selected for the position after CU chose to do an internal search because Kang said they wanted someone familiar with the city and the campus.
“We decided we wanted someone well respected already within the Boulder community,” Kang said. “We thought there would be many good candidates we could choose from here already so we could hit the ground running.”
Kang said Zak’s experience being with the CU Police Department during the flooding in 2013 and the officer-involved shooting and subsequent campus scare earlier this year were factors in her hiring.
“Her past experiences definitely played a role in her getting this position,” Kang said. “Melissa is a valued member of the university community, and she has proven she can get the job done. I think she’ll do a great job in this new role as well.”
Zak could not be reached by phone Monday, but did release a statement through the university.
“CU Boulder must continue to maintain and promote a culture of safety in classrooms, labs, residence halls, facilities, pathways and roads,” Zak said in the statement. “However, I realize that creating a safety culture and environment looks different for many of us on campus.