TUPD Superintendent Jon Barnwell leaves Tulane


Courtesy of Sally Asher

Jon Barnwell bids farewell to Tulane and New Orleans after five years of serving as TUPD Superintendent. Barnwell will be relocating to East Carolina University, where he has family roots.

After serving for five years as superintendent of Tulane University Police Department, Jon Barnwell is relocating to East Carolina University Police Department to serve as chief of police starting on Sept. 1.

Though he said he enjoyed his time working with TUPD and living in New Orleans, he has deep family roots in North Carolina.

“This was the toughest decision I have ever had to make, and it is because of how much me and my family like it here in New Orleans and most importantly working here at Tulane as an institution,” Barnwell said. “But there are always certain aspects of wanting to get back closer to my whole family.”

During his time at Tulane, Barnwell transformed the departmental structure of TUPD. He merged the Uptown and Downtown campus police departments into a single unit, bringing them together to work as one for the safety and security of Tulane students across New Orleans.

Michael Cunningham, associate provost for graduate studies and research, said he believes this initiative was the highlight of Barnwell’s tenure.

“I am not surprised that he is leaving because he is good,” Cunningham said. “I do think the biggest thing is that he unified all the police forces. They all co-exist together.”

In addition, Barnwell helped TUPD receive credentials from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agency on the international level, which was completed in November of 2015. Tulane is one of 10 universities in Louisiana to have received CALEA accreditation.

“I think from a legacy standpoint, being able to take a police department from its infancy to accreditation realm is very important in that it proves that we are following best practices with policy and procedures,” Barnwell said.

TUPD Commander of Operations Donald Saucier noted internal changes implemented by Barnwell, such as increasing the pay scale.

“He did a lot of great things. He brought pay scale into line,” Saucier said. “He brought pay up to average within the metro area because it was well below in spots.”

Barnwell also fostered an alliance between TUPD and students. He implemented a student safety committee, in which a group of students would listen to the concerns of fellow students and work with TUPD to take action. The committee allows the police department to become more in tune with issues that are important to the student body as a whole.

“It was so successful that [Undergraduate Student Government] adopted it as its own committee,” Barnwell said. “Now, so that instead of it being an informal group of student leaders, it is now structured, and students are appointed by student government to serve on that committee.”

Barnwell hopes that part of his legacy is the continuation of the effective operation of TUPD after his departure.

“I think the most important piece of the legacy is … to know that I can leave and [Tulane] will not see a dip in service, that the same commitment to partnering with the student body and moving forward in a positive direction of very proactive and innovative policing in a university setting is going to be here,” Barnwell said.

In terms of the future of safety on campus, Barnwell said he hopes the Emergency Management Division has the ability to receive accreditation, that a partnership with Allied Universal allows the department to grow and improve, and that enhancing safety on campus can expand to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Barnwell made efforts to improve safety on campus, improve the police department and bridge the gap between students and the department in a way that will last beyond his time at Tulane.

“I think we have done a great job in engaging our students in a positive and proactive manner that have allowed us to become more of a team working together to enhance safety and security here on campus,” Barnwell said.

Though he is returning to his family in North Carolina, Barnwell bids farewell to a community he worked to secure here on campus.

“[My time here at Tulane is] a part of my life and my career that will forever leave a positive impact on who I am and what I do moving forward,” Barnwell said. “The students here are the greatest, it was an honor and privilege to interact with some of the brightest young minds in the globe.”

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