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Q&A with Kelly Nee, Boston University Chief of Police/Executive Director of Public Safety

Kelly Nee is the new Boston University Chief of Police/Executive Director of Public Safety and she assumed her duties May 1. Chief Nee is a 33-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, from which she retired as member of the command staff of police commissioner William Evans. She is the first woman chief of police at Boston University. She holds a BS in Criminal Justice from Western New England College and is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police class of 48 (2011) and the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University (2016).

 

She shared these thoughts with us.

 

Why did you choose law enforcement as a profession? “I was performing a co-op term from Northeastern University with the Boston Police Department back in the early ‘80s. I totally got bitten by the bug of the culture. I admired the hard work, dedication, and sense of camaraderie. I was always interested in law and would have liked to go to law school, but my career took off.”

 

What is the best career advice you received? “It's not usually about YOU! Give credit where it's due, make a decision, and learn from it if it was a mistake.”

 

What is your guiding philosophy of leadership? “Lead by example and be open- minded.  You can't lead if no one will follow.”

 

What advice do you give to young public safety officers? “Be honest. People may not agree with you, but most people can handle the truth.”

 

What advice do you give to parents sending their children off to college? “Most mistakes will be bumps in the road and teachable moments. We are committed to your child's safety and expect them to take some responsibility.”

 

What new tactic or innovation do you hope to bring to your department? “I'd like to expand the already well-developed sense of community policing.”

 

Is there a professional article or book that you would recommend?

CRISIS META-LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS RESPONSE: THE INGENUITY OF SWARM INTELLIGENCE

 

Leonard J. Marcus, Ph.D., Eric McNulty, M.A., Barry C. Dorn, M.D., M.H.C.M. & Eric Goralnick, M.D.  2014

 

What trend in law enforcement are you most glad to see? “The adaptation to the new expectations of our constituents. Law enforcement personnel are more problem-solving partners than overseers.”

 

What do you do to decompress? “Work out, play golf poorly, and spend nights out with friends.”



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