Dear Colleagues,

I write to let you know that University of Illinois Police Chief Jeff Christensen will be retiring from university service on December 31. He’s chosen to make the announcement now to allow us plenty of time to ensure there is no disruption of the departmental efforts to protect the safety of our community. Beginning on January 1, 2018, Deputy Chief Matt Myrick will become the interim chief of police, pending approval by the Board of Trustees.

It has been a long time since this campus has known what it is like to be without Jeff Christensen watching out for its safety. He started his public safety career here in 1983 as a volunteer member of the student patrol while working toward his sociology degree. From there to patrol officer to deputy chief and finally to his 2012 appointment as chief of police and executive director of public safety, Jeff has been protecting students, faculty, staff and visitors here for more than three decades. But he hasn’t simply risen up through the ranks of the UIPD. He has elevated the performance of those around him at every step of the way.

He has built a team that has earned the University of Illinois Police Department a reputation for its integrity and for its community-focused approach to public safety and law enforcement. In just my first year here at Illinois, I have watched again and again as he and his team offer the first shoulder of support to individuals and families who are suddenly facing unthinkable tragedy and loss. That is how you build trust and how you create a police force that is a true partner with the community it serves. This is no accident. It is a conscious and committed leadership decision that Jeff has personally exemplified and professionally demanded of those who serve with him.

It is often traditional in messages like these to express mixed feelings on the departure of a respected and well-known colleague. This is not one of those messages and there are no mixed feelings today. There is only a deep sense of gratitude to Jeff for his service and heartfelt congratulations from our entire community on a job so very well done here at Illinois.

In these last few weeks of his Illinois career, I hope you’ll reach out to Jeff directly and offer your own best wishes as he and his family start their next adventure.


Robert J. Jones


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