Ronnell Higgins

Chief of Yale Police & Director of Public Safety at Yale

Ronnell Higgins has served as Chief of Police at Yale University since 2011; he was additionally named Director of Public Safety in 2015. In his 20-year career with Yale, he has been instrumental in significantly reducing crime (twice breaking all-time records for crime reduction at Yale, first in 2012 and again in 2016). Chief Higgins has earned a reputation for driving sustainable initiatives that continue to ensure a safe campus and community by preventing crime, championing exceptional relationships, and building community trust through collaboration with stakeholders, leaders, and members of both the University and City of New Haven communities.

Through his leadership at Yale, Chief Higgins has introduced a number of programs that have directly impacted safety on campus—from his weekly BlueStat meetings with focused operational and solutions-oriented reviews with staff to promoting a culture of collaboration and communication with leaders city-wide. Drawing on thought leadership of the highly respected Vanderbilt University, New Haven, New York, and University of Pennsylvania police departments, Chief Higgins has benchmarked key strategies that have delivered exceptional value at Yale University. Recognized as a facilitator of greater integration (merging both the urban and the academic), he has advanced the training and professional development of security officers and safety managers as well as fully integrated and maximized the use of public safety systems throughout campus, bringing technology to bear.

Very active in the community and within the industry, Chief Higgins was appointed Commissioner to serve on the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System by Connecticut State Senator Martin Looney and appointed a member of the Police Officers Standards and Training Council (POSTC) by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. He is an Executive Fellow with the Police Foundation and serves as an Executive Board Member with My Brothers’ Keeper Mentoring Initiative. Chief Higgins is past president of the South Central Connecticut Chiefs of Police and serves on the executive board for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives for Connecticut (NOBLE). Chief Higgins was named one of the 21 Most Influential Leaders in the Security Industry by Security Magazine in 2017.

Complementing his professional background, Chief Higgins holds a Master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense & Security and a Bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of New Haven. He is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy and holds a certificate in Law Enforcement Education from the University of Virginia. Additionally, he successfully completed the Crisis Leadership in Higher Education seminar at Harvard’s Kennedy Graduate School of Education. Chief Higgins is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven.