Penn State

More shake-ups in the Penn State police department as administrative chief steps down

Centre Daily Times, file

Turnover among Penn State police’s upper management continued Wednesday, as the department’s chief of police administration left the university for undisclosed reasons.

Police and Public Safety Assistant Vice President Charlie Noffsinger announced John Petrick’s departure in an email sent Wednesday to Penn State police officers.

“We acknowledge and are grateful for the contributions John has made during his time with university police and public safety and we wish him luck with his future endeavors,” Noffsinger wrote in the email obtained by the Centre Daily Times. “... We will also continue to evaluate reporting lines and organizational structure for the department.”

Penn State police public information officer Jenn Cruden confirmed Petrick’s departure Monday. She did not say why Petrick left the university.

Petrick worked alongside Joe Milek, the university’s chief of police operations, for 23 days. Milek began Aug. 26 as Keith Morris’ successor after Morris resigned in January to pursue other professional opportunities and spend more time with his family.

Petrick joined the department in 2017 after he resigned as Patton Township police chief — a role he had for 15 years. Petrick’s area of responsibility shifted to Milek, according to Noffsinger’s email.

Patton Township police Chief John Petrick left his position after 15 years for a job with Penn State University Police and Public Safety. Christopher Weddle Centre Daily Times, file

In addition to Petrick and Morris’ departures, the department’s tumultuous past year has included a “vote of no confidence” in Noffsinger, quarrelsome collective bargaining discussions and two officers that were placed on administrative leave.

One officer was placed on leave in July after the department received a report of possible animal abuse by one of its K-9 handlers. That state police investigation is ongoing.

A second officer was placed on leave earlier this month after the off-duty officer unintentionally discharged their firearm. No one was injured, but a neighboring residence was damaged. Patton Township continue to investigate.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.