By Menachem Wecker
In his nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, Kevin Hay, GW’s new police chief, has received more than 100 awards and recognitions.
In his former position as deputy chief of the U.S. Park Police, Mr. Hay managed the homeland security division (302 sworn officers), which is the force’s largest and which protects areas near the White House, the D.C. monuments and the Statue of Liberty. In 2009, Mr. Hay and his team managed the crowds at the presidential inauguration.
Mr. Hay, who will assume his new position on Sept. 7, joined the U.S. Park Police in 1984. Prior to that, he was a law enforcement commissioned ranger at Cape Hatteras, N.C. In his 28 years of federal service, he has worked in San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. He has managed horse mounted patrols and narcotics enforcement teams, and been responsible for law enforcement operations at dozens of national parks (which cover tens of thousands of acres), including the George Washington Memorial, Rock Creek and Baltimore-Washington parkways.
“As George Washington University’s police chief, Kevin Hay will provide a strong vision for enhancing safety and security on our campuses,” says Darrell Darnell, senior associate vice president for safety and security. “Kevin’s tremendous leadership abilities, his strong relationships with law enforcement agencies in the Washington, D.C.-area and his dedication to protecting our community uniquely qualify him to lead the GW Police Department.”
At GW, where Mr. Hay will lead a team of 175, including 150 uniformed special police and security officers, he says his most important mission will be providing a safe campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors. “My goal is to find any and all methods to increase safety and to engage neighbors to work together to increase the level of safety on campus,” he says. “Crime isn’t just a police issue. It’s a community issue.”
Any good modern security system must be layered, according to Mr. Hay, who says he intends to use a variety of law enforcement tools and methods, from strategically located cameras to plainclothes officers.
“We hope students will serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement, and if they see something they will say something,” he says.
It is important for students, faculty, staff and neighbors to program the GW Police Department’s number—202-994-6111 on the Foggy Bottom Campus and 202-242-6111 on the Mount Vernon Campus—into their phones and to use it when they see suspicious activity, even if they are not certain the situation warrants reporting, he says.
Situational awareness is also vital, according to Mr. Hay, and students should always be aware of their surroundings. Particularly at night, students should walk home with a friend or take a 4-Ride shuttle.
“Students should have an atmosphere where they don’t need to worry about crime and can concentrate on their studies,” he says. “Part of that is providing a safe environment for each other.” As the father of three teenagers, Mr. Hay says he understands the importance of protecting students.
Mr. Hay, who graduated from Radford University in Virginia, has ties to Foggy Bottom dating back to the World War II era. In the 1940s, his grandmother owned a boarding house at 605 22nd St., now the AEPI fraternity house. Five members of the Washington Eagles, an Eastern Hockey League team, lived at the house. “She always joked that she never made a dime, because they ate so much,” Mr. Hay says.
With his extensive experience in the Washington area, Mr. Hay has already forged important relationships with the metropolitan police, the Secret Service, the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police. His colleagues informed him that in most instances, the GW police force is a “stand alone agency that doesn’t need a lot of help,” he says, and he is very excited about his new position.
Though he plans on using plainclothes officers, Mr. Hay says high visibility patrols are the best method for law enforcement, particularly at night. Officers will wear their uniforms frequently, and Mr. Hay will wear his uniform a lot too. “I’m proud of what I do,” he says. “I think the chief should be out there and visible.”