Northeastern University has appointed Michael Davis as director of public safety, a critically important position as the university’s programs and people expand across the nation and around the world. Currently the chief of police in Brooklyn Park, Minn., Davis brings a proven track record of more than 20 years in law enforcement.
“We are fortunate to have a very strong and award-winning public safety division in place. The addition of Mike Davis’ experience and knowledge of policing—combined with his passion for the future of the profession—will undoubtedly strengthen the university on several fronts,” said Steven Kadish, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “As our campus community expands and evolves, it is more important than ever that we are effective and efficient in ensuring the continued safety and security of our community.”
Davis will provide vision and leadership to advance Northeastern’s national leadership in university public safety. He will oversee all aspects of Northeastern’s public safety division, which includes a comprehensive program of public safety services, including police, security, crime prevention, fire safety, and emergency medical services, with the overarching mission to ensure that the university community remains a safe and reassuring place in which to study, live, and work.
“Mike brings a proven record of accomplishments in community building and critical thinking. He is in a position to think dynamically, not just about public safety today, but other organizational needs into the future,” said Ralph Martin, senior vice president and general counsel, who was a key member of the search to recruit Davis.
Davis’ authority will extend to all Northeastern campuses and facilities in Massachusetts, Charlotte, N.C., and Seattle. He will also ensure that the university is fully prepared to address any and all safety concerns for Northeastern students studying and working across the globe.
As director of public safety, Davis will serve as chief law enforcement officer, with overall responsibility for budgets, human resource management, labor relations, and priority setting for security for all of Northeastern’s campuses, including risk assessment and short– and long-range emergency plans. Davis will also be the primary spokesperson for the public safety division, and he will be responsible for aligning the department’s practices with the entrepreneurial vision and direction of the university.
“It is an honor for me to have been selected as the next director of public safety at Northeastern,” Davis said. “As a leader in worldwide experiential learning and with campuses throughout the United States, Northeastern presents a unique set of challenges for the Public Safety Division. I look forward to this work and being a member of this innovative institution.”
As chief of police for Brooklyn Park, Minnesota’s sixth largest and second most diverse city, Davis implemented innovative and collaborative strategies to reduce reported and violent crimes to the city’s lowest rates in 21 years. Davis was previously a member of the Minneapolis Police Department where he led agency-wide initiatives that improved the performance of the organization, while working with the community to lower crime and improve police legitimacy.
Davis is a two-time graduate of Concordia University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in organizational management. He was a member of the 2011–2014 Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety, and the recipient of the 2012 Gary P. Hayes Award from the Police Executive Research Forum, a national and internationally recognized research organization that promotes leadership and best practices in policing. The Hayes award is conferred each year on a police leader, in recognition of his or her outstanding initiative in improving the quality of police service.
Davis will join Northeastern on Nov. 1. He will succeed D. Joseph Griffin, who announced his retirement last year after more than 35 years of service at Northeastern. Also a leader in policing and former president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Griffin will work closely with Davis as responsibilities are transitioned.