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Carolyn Kaufman

On-duty Tulane Emergency Medical Service workers, the creatorsof It’s Not Enough, and other students and community membersgathered in the Kendall Cram Room of the Lavin-Bernick CenterWednesday to enjoy free king cake, coffee and conversation, allwaiting their turn to speak with Jon Barnwell, the newsuperintendent of the Tulane University Police Department. 

Barnwell, whose warm demeanor and sense of humor surprised thoseexpecting to meet an intimidating, no-nonsense officer, made hisway through the room, engaging attendees in conversations abouthimself, his goals and their concerns, many of which centered oncrime.

“I take it personally when our students are victimized,”Barnwell said. “You don’t mess with my people. That’s why I’m sodriven on the subject.”

The superintendent thrives in meet-and-greet situations, duringwhich he can speak one-on-one with Tulane community members toestablish trust and communication.  

“I want to really get to know the different segments of thestudent population,” Barnwell said. “I want to help the studentbody understand that my vision for TUPD is not to see how manystudents we can catch doing things wrong. It’s about how we cancollaborate with student groups to make this not just a great placeto get an education but also a great place to hang out andsocialize without having to worry about safety.”

Barnwell, a graduate of West Point Leadership Institute, beganhis post as head of police departments at both the Uptown andDowntown Campus Jan. 17. He received a Bachelor of Science degreein criminal justice and criminology from Mount Olive College inNorth Carolina and served as the deputy police chief at NorthCarolina State University before coming to Tulane.  

Barnwell has no previous connections with New Orleans or Tulanebut chose to accept the position because of the opportunity forhard work it promised.

“As I read what Tulane was looking for and saw all of thechallenges that awaited, it became more attractive to me,” Barnwellsaid. “I like to always be challenged and to be able to collaboratewith students to see what we can do to address whatever issuearises, so I sent my resume, and here I am.”

The superintendent has already made changes to increase safetyon and off campus and will continue to make crime a priority. 

Barnwell also wants to achieve accreditation of TUPD by areputable organization, which means he and his team will makepolicy-driven changes to meet certain criteria. He hopes to applyfor Gold Standard status with the Commission on Accreditation forLaw Enforcement Agencies in five years. This status would make TUPDa premiere police department in the country for professionalservices in a private university setting.

Barnwell said he wants to enhance communication between thestudent body and police and is in the process of revamping theforce’s website to include photos of all officers. He plans tocreate a Facebook page and a Twitter to promote interaction andkeep students up to date on TUPD.

Under Barnwell’s charge, a group of officers is designing newuniforms for TUPD as part of an effort to unify the uptown anddowntown police departments and distinguish Tulane forces from theNew Orleans Police Department.  

The superintendent is searching for a permanent house in NewOrleans for himself, his wife and two dogs, since he does not planon leaving any time soon. He is excited for the opportunity to leadTUPD and hopes to become a well-known face around Tulane.

“Instilling the trust of the student body is going to be a hugetask, and it starts with one-on-one conversations and meetings withstudent leaders,” Barnwell said. “I’m coming to every Friday at theQuad. I want to be involved in this campus.”