University Police Chief Dolores Stafford announced Sunday she will step down from her position after 18 years of leading the department.
Stafford, who has worked in law enforcement and security for 25 years, came to GW in 1992. Stafford said Sunday she previously planned to retire at 50 but recently decided to “accelerate that plan and retire from active law enforcement at 45” and notified the University of her departure on Wednesday.
Stafford said she will remain in her position through the period of transition to a new chief – but will leave office by the end of the academic year. Her successor has not been named.
“As I move on, I plan to slow my life down dramatically,” Stafford said in an e-mail. “I will live in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and will work part time for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and will continue to expand and manage the small consulting business that I began in 1997.”
Stafford served as president of IACLEA from 2003 to 2004, and was the first woman to hold that office.
Stafford, an avid San Francisco 49ers fan, said she will miss the family of more than 200 officers and staffers who work for her.
“This position, at this University, has been extremely fulfilling and challenging and I had an opportunity to hire and develop an awesome management team and have hired many talented officers, who have performed superbly over the years,” Stafford said. “Together, we transformed the GW Police Department and I am proud to say that our department has a stellar reputation in DC and across the country.”
University President Steven Knapp said Stafford had been contemplating the move from active law enforcement for “some time.”
“The University has been well-served by her professional and dedicated leadership of the GW Police Department and her nationally recognized expertise in campus law enforcement and the Clery Act,” Knapp said in an e-mail, referring to the federal law that requires all colleges that receive federal aid to disclose information regarding crime on and around campus.
Stafford made headlines in April of 2008 when she co-authored a national safety report in which she recommended that campus police officers be armed with guns. A task force last year discussed the option of arming UPD but decided against the initiative last May.