Penn State

Assistant VP of Penn State for police and public safety Steve Shelow steps down after internal review

Steve Shelow was the Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety at Penn State until he stepped down Thursday.
Steve Shelow was the Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety at Penn State until he stepped down Thursday.

Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham will be doing double duty, serving as acting assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety as a search is conducted for a new leader of that department.

On Wednesday, the university announced that the current assistant VP, Stephen Shelow, would step aside at his own request. The move comes after a two-month administrative review that university officials said was conducted by “internal specialists in conjunction with an outside consultant.”

A press release said the review “revealed management concerns and a disconnect between supervisors and those reporting to them.”

“We came to a difficult mutual decision based on the review findings. It is imperative that our officers and our community have confidence in leadership, at all levels in all areas,” David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, said in a statement. “It’s simply recognizing the need for an organizational change that can provide people in these critical areas with a clearer vision and direction, and an environment where employees can succeed. Our police and public safety departments are very well-regarded in higher education circles, and have full law enforcement authority.”

Gray said there were no official complaints, malfeasance or violations of law involved. Shelow, who has been in this role for four years, will remain working under Gray on special projects, according to Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers.

“Many issues were brought up during the review that need to be fully addressed, and I feel those challenges will best be undertaken with new leadership,” Shelow said in the release. “The time has come for me to step away and allow the department and me to move forward in a positive manner.”

Penn State is seeking accreditation of its police through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

In recent years, Shelow has made announcements regarding police or policy that included using Tasers and replacing PSUTXT with PSUAlert as an emergency notification system. There also have been pushes toward self-defense, emergency preparedness, training and education.

At a trustee committee meeting in March, Shelow presented a university-produced active-shooter response training video designed to teach students how to respond to a dangerous situation.

“The safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our university has been, and continues to be, a top priority,” Gray said in the release.