New UOPD chief wants to strengthen campus connections

UOPD patrol car

After a national search, Jason Wade has been selected as the University of Oregon Police Department’s new chief of police, effective June 1.

Wade, a UOPD officer since 2014, brings more than 25 years of experience and a deep commitment to community policing. As police captain, Wade led the department’s accreditation process, making the UOPD the first campus police department in Oregon to be accredited by the Oregon Accreditation Alliance.  

Jason WadeHe also developed the first UOPD Cadet Academy to advance the department’s goal of creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive work force. In addition, UOPD trained and this year brought on duty 10 unarmed community service officers. The officers broaden the services and connection to campus. 

Wade, who embraces the UOPD’s new approaches, said he wants to develop meaningful connections with underserved communities and engage equally with all members of the community with compassion and empathy. “Police officers, CSOs and staff of the department are truly public servants working in the best interest of our community,” Wade said. “The UOPD’s authority comes from our community’s trust and approval of how we conduct ourselves.”

Chief Resilience Officer Andre Le Duc, chair of the search committee, cited a number of strengths that made Wade a good choice for the university.

“Jason Wade has more than 20 years of experience working on a college campus,” Le Duc said. “He’s committed to student safety, and he understands the need to address issues students face, such as mental health.”

Shelly Kerr, director of University Counseling Services and a search committee member, noted it is important to address those issues on today’s campuses.

“The need to address mental health issues sensitively, compassionately and effectively has never been more important,” Kerr said. “I look forward to working closely with Chief Wade, UOPD command staff and officers in the area of campus mental health specifically and supporting a safe and healthy campus generally.” 

The UOPD operates 24 hours a day year-round, serving the campus with sworn police officers, community service officers, security officers and civilian staff in a variety of roles. The department works with campus and community partners to track safety issues and use proven approaches for prevention and response.

Dean of Students Marcus Langford, who also served on the search committee, sees Wade fulfilling a need at the UO.

“I look forward to working with Jason as he and the other UOPD command staff partner with the campus community to create and sustain both a vision, and daily operations, for UOPD that is reflective of the uniqueness of operating within an educational environment,” Langford said.