CU’s top cop Zak moves to new role

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Mitchell Byars

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.

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