May 25-June 7, 2001
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Paul E. Norris Jr. to head U.Va. police
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Paul E. Norris Jr. to head U.Va. police

By Dan Heuchert

Sheffield and Norris
Matt Kelly
Michael Sheffield, left, introduced his successor, Paul Norris, to the University community during Finals weekend.

Paul E. Norris Jr., who rose through the ranks from patrol officer to chief of police in a 31-year career at Indiana University, has been named chief of the U.Va. Police Department. He will take command Aug. 1.

Norris succeeds Michael Sheffield, U.Va. chief for 17 years, who announced his retirement last August but agreed to remain on the job until his successor was named.

“I welcome Mr. Norris to the University and Charlottesville community and look forward to working with him,” said Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Paul is a seasoned, committed and hard-working police professional. We will benefit from his long and successful career at Indiana University. Paul’s impressive record, leadership style and commitment to excellence fit well with what I consider to be an exceptionally high-quality police department here at the University of Virginia.”

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead this outstanding police agency, at this historical and prestigious university,” Norris said. “Everyone involved in this process, including the department personnel and members of the U.Va. and Charlottesville community, have made me feel very comfortable about my decision to accept this position.”

At U.Va., Norris will take over a department with a staff of 133, including 65 full-time sworn officers, and a budget of $4 million. At Indiana, he commanded a force of 108, including 50 full-time sworn officers.

Norris has a breadth of law-enforcement experience beginning in 1970, when he joined the Indiana University Police Department as an officer. The Indiana Law Enforcement Academy hired him as a training instructor in 1979.

He returned to IU in 1982 as a uniform lieutenant and community-relations and training officer at the system’s Indianapolis campus, which includes its medical center. In 1989, Norris moved to the IU’s main Bloomington campus as an administrative lieutenant, and later administrative captain and academy director, before rising to chief of police in 1993.

His duties included coordinating all law-enforcement efforts for the 35,000-student campus and directing security arrangements for many visiting dignitaries, including Gen. Colin Powell, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. He also coordinated the department’s response to student unrest in the wake of last fall’s dismissal of men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight.

Norris, who also graduated from the FBI National Academy, is a member of the National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Officers, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Lampkin, who chaired U.Va.’s search committee, said Norris’ depth of experience in community relations, major events and athletics greatly impressed the panel. She also noted his strong track record of hiring minorities and women and his commitment to education. When he was hired, only one supervisor held a four-year degree; as he leaves, 12 of 14 have graduated (the other two are well on their way), and 20 officers in all have received bachelor’s degrees.

“We are fortunate to have attracted someone who has already served as a police chief at a major university,” Lampkin said. “He will maintain the stability of the University Police Department and continue to build on its tradition of strong leadership.”

“Beyond his solid experience and credentials for the position, we were particularly impressed with his commitment to a high level of professionalism for himself and his officers,” Sandridge added. “We are very confident that Paul is someone who will be able to maintain the level of respect that the Police Department has earned from other University areas and the larger community.”

Sandridge also thanked Sheffield for remaining on the job until the University named a successor. “I am very grateful to Mike Sheffield for extending his departure date as chief of police. Mike has been one of the most effective managers with whom I have had the pleasure of working. The University is most certainly a better place because of his personal commitment, professionalism and down-to-earth nature. I am personally and professionally saddened by his departure.

“I believe the search committee has done an extraordinary job of identifying someone, Paul Norris, who will be able to continue and build upon Mike Sheffield’s good work and reputation.”

Norris has three adult children: daughter Shaunna Norris attends Indiana University; son Paul Norris III is a senior at Ball State University; and daughter Kelly Whitfield holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University.



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