A longtime Massachusetts police officer who went on to lead two large universities' public safety departments was named Wednesday as the University of Connecticut's next police chief.
Barbara O'Connor, 50, will leave the University of Illinois next spring to start at UConn on a date that has yet to be determined. She will become the first female police chief at UConn, which has 76 sworn officers and the same statutory authority as Connecticut municipal police departments.
"Being a police chief at a large university requires a specialized understanding of the unique challenges a college campus presents. Barbara has exactly the kind of background and experience we were looking for, and we look forward to her arrival on campus," UConn President Susan Herbst said Wednesday.
O'Connor was chief at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for eight years before joining Illinois in 2009, and previously was an officer for the Yarmouth, Mass., police department on Cape Cod.