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C. Leon Pierce sworn in as head of public safety at UMass Medical School

By Mark Shelton

UMass Medical School Communications

February 07, 2020
Chief C. Leon Pierce is joined by his family, (from left), daughters Gabrielle and Sage; wife Jennifer; and daughter Makenzie.
Chief C. Leon Pierce is joined by his family, (from left), daughters Gabrielle and Sage; wife Jennifer; and daughter Makenzie.

In an emotional ceremony before his family, colleagues and friends, C. Leon Pierce was sworn in as director of public safety and chief of police at UMass Medical School on Thursday, Feb. 6. Two of his daughters, Gabrielle and Sage Pierce, sang the National Anthem, while the third, Makenzie Pierce, fulfilled the honor of pinning on his new badge. Jennifer Pierce, his wife, was close by.

Chief Pierce was appointed to the top post last month, upon the retirement of John Luippold.

“Chief, we are deeply touched by your career-long commitment to service,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “We are truly fortunate that you are leading the fine men and women of our Office of Public Safety.”

Pierce has served as deputy director of public safety and deputy chief of police at UMass Medical School since 2016, after serving with the Connecticut State Police for 21 years. He earned a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Connecticut and a master’s in management from Albertus Magnus College, and was promoted to lieutenant of the Connecticut State Police in 2008. While there, he also served as a supervisor in Internal Affairs, and was the commanding officer for three state police barracks; area commander for the Statewide Narcotics Task Force; and chief of staff to the State Police colonel. He has received multiple recognitions for his law enforcement work in Connecticut, where he introduced policy, procedural and programmatic initiatives that improved agency efficiency and working conditions for troopers.

In his remarks, Chief Pierce thanked his family, his colleagues and mentors, the four chiefs of police from the other UMass campuses and the campus community. “This is a wonderful place and I look forward to continuing to establish and build relationships across the campus,” he said.

The UMMS Department of Public Safety is responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors. Based in the police station located on the main level of the South Road parking garage, UMMS police officers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All are sworn in under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 75, Section 32A, have received training at Municipal Police Academies and have the same law enforcement authority as municipal police.