Yale Police Department - Recent promotions

October 29, 2021

On October 1, 2021, Chief Ronnell Higgins sent an email updating all Yale Public Safety staff on some recent Yale Police Department promotions.

To: Members of Yale Public Safety,

It gives me great pleasure to share some additional information regarding recent promotions within the Yale Police Department. Effective today, Lieutenant Sabrina Wood is promoted from the rank of sergeant. Sergeant Martha Cedeno-Ross and Sergeant Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Vaccino are promoted from the rank of police officer.

Lieutenant Wood was hired in 2006 and spent her first five years as a Yale Police Patrol Officer. In this role, she was assigned to both the Investigative Service and the Community Impact Units.

In 2011, Lieutenant Wood was promoted to the rank of sergeant, where she continued to provide leadership to the Community Impact Unit. She also served in a support role to provide advocacy and support in the area of sensitive crimes. Currently, Lieutenant Wood supports the Patrol Division as a liaison for large-scale events, including developing operational plans, organizing specialized teams, and partnering with key University stakeholders and law enforcement partners to provide seamless police coordination and support. She has received many notable career achievements, including department citations and awards for her police work.

In addition to her professional experience, she has an undergraduate degree in Law Enforcement Administration and Investigative Services from the University of New Haven in Connecticut and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

Sabrina is an active member of the New Haven community and holds several volunteer positions with the department’s honor guard, New Haven YMCA, Special Olympics, and as a Big Sister mentor.

Sergeant Martha Cedeno-Ross was hired in 2014 as a Yale Police Patrol Officer. Before joining Yale, she held a variety of positions within the banking compliance field. Sergeant Cedeno-Ross worked as a patrol officer for four years, responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for service.

In 2018, Sergeant Cedeno-Ross represented the Yale Police as a Community Engagement Officer, where she was responsible for planning, developing, and implementing community outreach programs to strengthen public trust. In this role, she has built strong relationships within our shared community, with various groups and leaders, ranging from campus affinity groups and community management teams to local food pantries.

She currently holds several volunteer positions, including assistant conditioning coach for Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, social justice committee member with the Asian Network at Yale (ANY) affinity group, and civic engagement committee member with the Future Leaders of Yale (FLY).

Sergeant Cedeno-Ross has received several awards and citations for her community contributions and continues to be active in the New Haven community. She also holds an associate’s degree in Health and Criminal Justice from SUNY Canton College in New York.

Sergeant Elizabeth “Liz” Vaccino joined the Yale Police in 2006 as a police officer and has held a variety of assignments supporting patrol, including bike patrol, community impact unit, field training and supporting the Police Athletic League (PAL) summer camp, and Future Law Enforcement Youth Academy (FLEYA). Before joining Yale, Sergeant Vaccino worked in Benhaven School with special education students and in the former St. Raphael’s Hospital as a youth psychiatric counselor.

Sergeant Vaccino has been awarded several certificates of commendation and received letters of thanks for outstanding police work from both Yale and New Haven community members. Each assignment has provided Sergeant Vaccino a greater understanding and insight into the Yale and New Haven communities, including student rules and regulations, criminal statutes, university and city ordinances, and contemporary policing issues.

She is actively involved in the community and serves as a member of the Yale Police Honor Guard, a certified employee assistance program counselor, Special Olympics volunteer, West Haven High School (WHHS), and Little League pitching coach, as well as a volunteer coach for the WHHS Softball Team. Sergeant Vaccino holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University in Connecticut.

Their commitment to leadership requires intellectual curiosity, collaborative partnerships, innovative problem-solving, and a commitment to social justice. In these uncertain times, supervisors must be ready on day one—to listen, learn, and lead—and I am confident Lieutenant Wood, Sergeant Cedeno-Ross, and Sergeant Vaccino are ideally suited to do just that.

Please join me in recognizing Lieutenant Wood, Sergeant Cedeno-Ross, and Sergeant Vaccino’s unique and significant contributions to the Yale Police Department and wishing them all continued success in their new roles.

Ronnell Higgins, Director of Public Safety & Chief of Yale Police