Barnwell selected as new police chief

July 27, 2017

By Jamie Smith
ECU News Services

After a national search, East Carolina University has selected Jon Barnwell as chief of the ECU Police Department. He will begin his new position September 1.

Barnwell is originally from Hendersonville, North Carolina and has 19 years of experience in campus law enforcement. He comes to ECU from Tulane University in New Orleans where he has been the superintendent of police since 2012. At Tulane, he oversees 100 sworn police officers on three campuses and supervises two police chiefs.

“Jon will be a great addition to ECU. He has a strong record of community engagement and innovative policing through integrating technology into security and law enforcement operations,” said Bill Koch, associate vice chancellor for environmental health and campus safety at ECU.

Barnwell (contributed photo)


Barnwell began his law enforcement career at North Carolina State University, working his way up from patrol officer to deputy chief of field operations. He has a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from the University of Mount Olive and is a graduate of West Point Military Leadership Institute.

“ECU has a commitment to becoming a benchmark in best practices for the delivery of 21st century university policing. This commitment coupled with the strong leadership currently within the police department made this opportunity a huge draw for me,” said Barnwell. “The ability to come back home to North Carolina was just icing on the cake. I look forward to growing our public safety services as the institution continues to advance, and I am proud to be a new member of Pirate Nation.”

The ECU Police Department employs approximately 60 sworn officers and a civilian staff. It is dually accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Law Enforcement Agencies and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. Deputy Chief Jason Sugg has served as interim chief since July 2016.

“I am deeply indebted to Deputy Chief Sugg for his leadership and to the entire ECU Police Department for their dedication and professionalism. The leadership and commitment of this team led to continued progress during this challenging transition period,” said Koch. “This momentum will be instrumental in the continued success of the department under the direction of Chief Barnwell.”

Developmental Associates, a North Carolina firm specializing in law enforcement executive searches, provided technical support and guidance for ECU’s search. The firm coordinated a multi-phase process that helped the search team narrow the field from 70 applicants to the final group of six candidates.