By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Police Chief John Allen has been named public safety director for Ferris State University, a public four-year school in Big Rapids, school officials announced Jan. 19.
He will start his new position March 1, replacing retiring director Bruce Borkovich.
Allen has been with the Melvindale Police Department since 1997, serving on road patrol, as a sergeant, patrol lieutenant and detective lieutenant, until Oct. 11, 2016, when he became police chief.
At Ferris State, he will oversee an assistant director, two sergeants, a detective sergeant, seven officers, a dispatch specialist and student cadets.
When Allen became Melvindale police chief, he replaced Police Chief Chad Hayes, who was fired following a protracted and divisive battle with elected city officials, which culminated in a two-day hearing, which included conflicting testimony from police officers within the department.
When Allen was chosen for the role by the city’s Public Safety Commission, Chairman Jeff Bolton praised his strong organization and communication skills, which he said would have a needed soothing effect within the department and the community.
Ferris State Vice President for Administration and Finance Jim Bachmeier said he is confident that Allen’s two decades of experience will translate well to a university setting.
“We look forward to the great work John will do building relationships on and off our campus while working with the outstanding partners we have in local law enforcement,” he said.
Allen earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Schoolcraft College in 1995, a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration from Sienna Heights University in 2014, and a master’s degree in Public Safety Administration in 2015 from Eastern Michigan University.
In 2018, Allen was chosen to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Mayor Wheeler Marsee said the new post was a great opportunity for Allen, for which Allen said he is honored and humbled to have been chosen.
“I am excited to begin building relationships and gaining trust within the Bulldog community, as well as the Big Rapids and Mecosta County area,” he said. “I look forward to getting started and to serve and protect the students, faculty, staff and visitors of Ferris State University.”