The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently honored Valdosta State University Chief of Police Alan Rowe with its highly coveted 40 Under 40 Award.
The IACP 40 Under 40 Award annually recognizes talented, accomplished, and dedicated law enforcement professionals from around the world who demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment to their profession. The 2021 honorees were 72.5 percent United States-based and 27.5 percent international-based law enforcement professionals.
“While being included in this year’s class of 40 Under 40 is technically a personal achievement, it’s moreover a testament to the relationship the VSU Police Department has strived to build with our campus community,” said Rowe, who knew that he wanted to help serve and protect others from an early age. “Being part of this group of global leaders, representing nine countries, reinvigorates my drive to serve our students and help them succeed. I’m proud of the team our police department has built and am humbled to serve alongside them daily.”
Rowe’s law enforcement career began while serving his country as a command investigator and watch commander in the United States Navy. He later transitioned to city policing, where he served first as a patrol officer in Fort Valley, Georgia, then a corporal and training officer in Ashburn, Georgia. He was 28 years old when he was named chief of police in Pavo, Georgia, where he successfully implemented an extensive policy manual, where none previously existed, and utilized technology resources to update the department and extend additional services to the community.
Rowe switched gears in 2015 when he came to work for VSU as Public Safety’s emergency management coordinator. Six months later he assumed the duties of interim director of Public Safety and interim chief of the VSU Police Department. Following a nationwide search, he officially became VSU’s eighth director of Public Safety and chief of police in early 2017.
Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU, said, “University law enforcement leaders have an extraordinary burden of responsibility. Chief Rowe has excelled in leading our campus police.”
Rowe’s accomplishments at VSU include leading minority recruitment programs, increasing community policing engagement with the student body, and completing the 129 professional standards of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police’s (GACP) rigorous State Certification Program. He was selected as a member of Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange’s 27th delegation to Israel, where he expanded his training in community policing.
“All of these accomplishments are notable, but they do not fully capture Chief Rowe’s value to VSU,” Carvajal added. “His greatest contribution to the campus community is his desire to see our students succeed academically while exploring all that the college experience offers. He is engaged with our students, and he is committed to breaking down barriers that prevent meaningful interactions between students and campus police.”
In 2022 Rowe will become president of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, where he will serve as the second-ever voice for campus policing in the organization’s 60-year history.
“If asked at the beginning of my career if I ever saw myself working in campus policing, much less leading a university department, the answer would have been a firm ‘no,’” Rowe shared. “Back then, as an eager rookie, ready to solve the world’s problems with my citation book, I never fathomed the true impact community policing, especially in a campus environment could have.”
Community policing is a strategy for achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, and improved police services and police legitimacy. Rowe and his VSU Police Department officers are committed to achieving these things through a proactive reliance on community resources and through greater police accountability, a greater public share in decision-making, and a greater concern for civil rights and liberties.
“While the relationships you make policing any community can give you an undeniable drive for success, university policing takes that to the extreme,” he continued. “University policing traditionally has a lower rate of calls for service, allowing time for true interaction and service to our students. These young people are at a pivotal time in their lives and we get the unique opportunity to provide many life lessons for them as they travel the path to the reason any university exists — graduation. Spending the days of the semester helping them overcome challenges and struggles, then watching them walk across the stage at the end of their journey, is surely enough to get anyone out of bed in the morning.”
Bruce Hedley, immediate past president of GACP and chief of the Lilburn Police Department, said Rowe “has always maintained a servant leadership mindset” and “has dedicated himself to the betterment of those around him.”
Lou Dekmar, past president of IACP and chief of the LaGrange Police Department, said Rowe “has demonstrated consistent leadership at every agency and in every position he has held.
“Critical to contemporary police leadership is a spirit of enthusiasm, creativity, positivity, innovation, ability to identify best practices, and their applications to benefit the communities they serve. Chief Rowe reflects and embraces each of these qualities and characteristics. He is the ‘Gold Standard’ by which I measure police leadership.”
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About the VSU Police Department:
The VSU Police Department is committed to doing all that is possible to build an environment that promotes a feeling of safety and security. Police officers patrol the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They protect life and property, preserve the peace, prevent and repress crime, investigate reported offenses, apprehend offenders, enforce regulations and laws relating to traffic control, collect and preserve physical evidence, prepare cases for court prosecution or disciplinary action, recover lost and stolen property, provide general police services to the university community, and establish and maintain an enforcement policy which is consistent with the requirements of the law and with the best traditions of a democratic society.
The VSU Police Department offers a variety of crime-prevention programs and information sources to help the university community deal with safety issues. One such safety initiative is the police escort service. This program provides additional protection to all university faculty, staff, students, and visitors while walking around campus. It is in operation around the clock, and officers are prepared to provide a walking escort to any member of the VSU community to any location on campus upon request. Those who wish to utilize the service should simply dial (229)333-7816or use one of the emergency phones located throughout the campus.
About the International Association of Chiefs of Police: Established in 1893 and headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, the International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s largest and most influential professional association for police leaders. With more than 31,000 members in more than 165 countries, it is a recognized leader in global policing, committed to advancing safer communities through thoughtful, progressive police leadership and preparing current and emerging police leaders — and the agencies and communities they serve — to succeed in addressing the most pressing issues, threats, and challenges of the day. Membership is open to law enforcement professionals of all ranks, as well as non-sworn leaders across the criminal justice system.