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By Felicia Krieg
After almost 30 years with the New York State University Police, Jerry Lottie has been named chief of SUNY Plattsburgh University Police.
“My first job was with security and safety at St. Lawrence University and that’s when I realized how interested I was in campus law enforcement,” Lottie said.
“I thought it was a good fit for me because it provided me the opportunity to engage in policing in a different format, which included education and community policing.”
Lottie started with University Police in 1986 as a patrol officer at SUNY Canton and was promoted to lieutenant before transferring to SUNY Plattsburgh in 2000 to work as an investigator.
He was promoted to assistant chief in 2001.
“It’s a great environment to work in,” Lottie said, adding that there are ample opportunities for officers to interact with students and have a positive impact on their lives.
“The campus has a really active, involved, engaged police department. I’m very lucky and the campus is very lucky to have such dedicated people.”
At SUNY Plattsburgh, University Police is a division of Student Affairs.
Vice President for Student Affairs Bryan Hartman said Lottie’s continued efforts to forward the entire department’s knowledge of diversity and inclusion helps create a positive relationship among University Police, students, faculty and staff.
“His philosophy and priority of focus on students makes University Police a strong element of our division,” he added.
Lottie is detail oriented and always has student and college employee safety and security at the forefront of his thought process while on the job, Hartman said.
At the same time, he advocates on behalf of the officers he supervises.
“He always cares about the members of his department and I think strikes a good balance of providing opportunities (for officers) and ensuring accountability at the same time, and that’s not easy to do in a role like his.”
University Police Inspector Patrick Rascoe, who started work at University Police last fall, was formerly a lieutenant with the Plattsburgh City Police Department.
“We worked collaboratively on lots of cases over the years,” Rascoe said of Lottie and the Plattsburgh City Police. “He was always very easy to work with.”
His personal characteristics make him well suited for his role as chief, Rascoe said.
“He’s serious, which is needed for his position, but he always has a very positive outlook and you always feel better after spending a couple minutes with him.”
Over the course of his career, Lottie has seen official and public recognition of SUNY law enforcement officers evolve.
In 1989, officers’ uniforms changed from brown to their current gray. The brown uniforms were originally intended to distinguish campus safety officers from municipal police.
Ten years later, University Police officers were granted full police powers and the name of the organization changed from SUNY Public Safety to SUNY University Police.
Beyond that, the job description of a University Police officer has also changed over the years, Lottie said.
“I think some of the biggest changes that I’ve seen is the enhancement of the University Police training and their expanded role on campus from not only being a guardian for campus safety but also being engaged with the educational process and everything from crime prevention to mental health concerns, behavioral assessment, active shooter response.”
University Police have the luxury of inter-departmental collaboration within the college, Lottie said.
“We have with the Residence Life staff an extra 100 sets of eyes and ears. We have counseling staff on campus to support our mission. We have Student Affairs who work in tandem with us to achieve our goals,” he said.
"It’s nice to have that very comprehensive approach because it really does take the entire campus’s focus on safety to develop a safe campus.”
One of the highlights of Lottie’s career was seeing students who interned or worked in his department come back and become officers there themselves.
Officer Joshua Coons worked in the department as a temporary employee and later as a graduate assistant and Officer Jessica Facteau interned at University Police.
“That makes me proud that they saw what University Police was like from that outside perspective and chose it as a career.”
Lottie said he will continue pushing the department forward so it may continue to have a positive impact in Plattsburgh.
“I want to see us continue to elevate our status not only on campus but in the community and with our peers,” Lottie said.
That includes continual improvement in “not only in the services we provide and training we attend, but also in the way we provide those services and that would be to develop relationships with the community that we serve and to ensure that we properly serve all constituents.”
Lottie holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from SUNY Canton and a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement management from Empire State College.
He received the 2010 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Professional Service, 2014 University Police Chiefs Presidents’ Award and the 2014 New York State University Police Chiefs Commissioner’s Certificate of Appreciation.
Lottie was president of the New York State University Police Chiefs Association from 2010 to 2011 and he currently serves on the executive board of the New York State University Police Chiefs Association as special assistant to the president.
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