Ron Mullen, who transformed
security operations at Homewood during a period of
unprecedented growth for the campus, has announced he will
retire after nearly 13 years with the university.
Mullen, previously deputy police commissioner in
Baltimore, joined Johns Hopkins at a time when the Security
Department owned one computer, a pair of typewriters, two
cars and an SUV that could be held in four-wheel drive only
with the assistance of a coat hanger. Patrols focused
primarily on the campus proper.
He will leave behind a modernized department of 48
commissioned special police officers, including two
dedicated full time to investigations. They employ
sophisticated computer programs to map student residences,
crime patterns and patrol areas. They combine those maps to
determine how best to deploy their resources, which now
include 44 contract guards and, added most recently, 30
off-duty Baltimore police officers.
With nine vehicles, Mullen's team now patrols areas
well off campus in all directions, as far away as Johns
Hopkins at Eastern. That huge complex is only one of a
number of facilities for which Mullen is responsible that
either didn't exist or didn't belong to the university when
he came to Johns Hopkins in 1992.
"Ron has served extremely capably as head of Homewood
safety and security services for nearly 13 years," said
James T. McGill, senior vice president for finance and
administration. "I admire Ron's professionalism, dedication
to Johns Hopkins and selfless focus on the myriad of crises
and day-to-day tasks required of him. He has set in place
an excellent security program that has served the campus
McGill praised Mullen for setting in motion years ago
preparations for further modernization of the Security
Department, including, among other actions, ensuring that
new campus buildings were constructed ready for
closed-circuit television cameras. That preparation and a
planning exercise that Mullen started early last year laid
much of the groundwork for a security action plan announced
by President Brody in January, shortly after the homicide
of senior Linda Trinh in her off-campus apartment.
Mullen, who earlier had planned to retire sometime
next year, said he realized recently that full
implementation of the action plan — beginning now
with a first-phase network of 32 smart cameras and a number
of other initiatives — would best be accomplished by
someone in the director's chair for the long haul.
"Just as our efforts that started in 1992 warranted a
security director who could seamlessly guide and nurture
them over the years, so do these new efforts," Mullen said.
"For me to not alter my plans ... by a matter of months to
the benefit of an institution I so highly regard would be
beneath my professional and personal standards.
"And, while I am admittedly addicted to challenge," he
said, "to take this one on would also be unfair to my
family, whose understanding over the years of long days and
interrupted nights has been extraordinary."
Mullen's overhaul of his department in 13 years has
gone far beyond issues of technology and a much larger
turf. In an interview with The Gazette in September
1992, only weeks after he started on the job, the new
director said one of his top priorities was "to encourage a
closer working relationship between members of the campus
community at large and members of the Security Department
... consistent with our philosophy of not making these
decisions by ourselves, but going out and saying, 'This is
an area we think we should be in. Do you agree, disagree?
What other areas do you think we should be in?'"
Mullen has stuck with that philosophy throughout his
tenure. He is often found touring the campus at night with
students, looking for areas of poor visibility; meeting
with student leaders and departmental or office groups; and
participating in campus events. He has improved his
department's communication on its activities and reporting
on area crime, and instituted training programs not only on
policing and safety but also on such issues as cultural
awareness. He also has built bridges to community groups
and to a series of Northern District police commanders and
other law enforcement officials.
"Hopkins is a great place to work," Mullen said. "I
expect to remain fully involved as director while the
search is under way and until my successor is appointed and
a smooth transition accomplished. After that, I intend to
take full advantage of some of the other marvelous
endeavors Hopkins has to offer and remain active in ...
McGill said he will lead a thorough but rapid search.
He also said he will transfer responsibility for parking
and for the Homewood-Peabody-JHMI shuttle to the Office of
Facilities, so that the new director can focus on safety