15-year Pittsburgh Bureau of Police commander chosen to lead UPD

A 30-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police was chosen as the new chief of the University Police Department, the University announced Wednesday.

RaShall Brackney, a 15-year commander in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, will officially take over the position on June 8. In Pittsburgh, she oversaw the major crimes division within the investigations branch of the bureau and coordinated with local university police departments. Since 2001, she managed the Special Deployment Division, which included the SWAT team, hostage negotiations, bomb squad and the mounted patrol, according to the release.

“I am honored to be selected to lead GW’s police force,” Brackney said in the release. “I look forward to fostering positive police-community relations on campus to mitigate crime and enhance community wellness.”

Brackney will take over the position held by former UPD chief Kevin Hay, who resigned from his post in the fall.

Brackney was chosen over several other candidates, including a candidate from the Maryland State Troopers and UPD’s interim chief Frank Demes. Students were included in the vetting process for the new chief.

“Cmdr. Brackney has a proven track record of implementing community-driven policing programs, which have reduced crime and improved relationships within the city she has committed to protect,” Darrell Darnell, senior associate vice president for safety and security, said in the release. “Her exceptional leadership skills, knowledge of training and development and commitment to keeping her community safe will be an asset in her new role as our police chief.”

She will take over a department that haspassed national accreditation tests four times in a row. The department has also faced complaints from officers about a hostile work environment. Officers have filed at least five complaints against the department alleging race, age and gender discrimination among officers since 2010.

UPD’s responsibilities include security services for the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses. Brackney will oversee more than 100 officers when she takes over her position.

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