Temple’s public safety director stepping down amid wave of gun violence near campus

Temple University's campus.

Temple University's campus. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

This story originally appeared on 6abc

Temple University’s public safety director is stepping down, officials announced on Thursday night.

Executive Director of Public Safety Charlie Leone will leave his post effective April 29.

Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser made the announcement in a letter to the community.

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“It goes without saying that we will miss him immensely. A member of the Temple family for 36 years and a fixture on campus, Charlie has dedicated the majority of his professional life to making Temple University a safe and vibrant place to live, learn and work for Temple’s students, faculty and staff,” said Kaiser.

Leone called his decision to leave “bittersweet,” adding that it was the right time to enable a new leader to “build the strategy for the future.”

His departure comes as the campus works to increase safety amid a wave of gun violence in the city.

Late last year, the community was rocked by the murder of 21-year-old Samuel Collington, who was killed during a robbery near campus.

And just last week, Philadelphia police arrested a 15-year-old male after he allegedly opened fire on four girls inside a vehicle near Temple. Two victims were shot in the incident but are expected to survive. They were not students of the university.

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The university has announced a series of steps it is taking to better ensure the safety of students.

Kaiser says the university met with Mayor Jim Kenney and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw this week to discuss a full spectrum of strategies to address the crisis of gun violence. The university is also partnering with former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to audit campus safety. That is set to begin next month.

Read the university’s full statement on Charlie Leone’s resignation below:

“To the Temple community,

It is with sadness that I announce Executive Director of Public Safety Charlie Leone has decided to step down, effective April 29. It goes without saying that we will miss him immensely. A member of the Temple family for 36 years and a fixture on campus, Charlie has dedicated the majority of his professional life to making Temple University a safe and vibrant place to live, learn and work for Temple’s students, faculty and staff.

“I came to Temple nearly 40 years ago as a student, and I loved this university so much that I never left,” Charlie said. “It is bittersweet for me to leave now, but I know campus safety is in a much stronger position today, and this is the right time for me personally to step aside and enable a new leader to build the department’s strategy for the future.”

Deputy Director Denise Wilhelm will assume the role of interim executive director. A member of Temple Police for more than 30 years, Denise will continue to lead our department and be an integral part of our ongoing campus safety efforts. We will begin a national search to identify a new executive director immediately and I plan to retain a consultant to ensure that we identify and hire the best possible candidate.

As the city and the university have faced a growing gun violence crisis, Charlie has led the university’s efforts to safeguard the community. He will stay with the University until the end of April to assist with the onboarding of Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey as he undertakes a comprehensive review of public safety.

I’m sure you join me in sharing immense gratitude for all that Charlie has contributed to Temple, supporting our community tirelessly and generously. Charlie will take some well-earned time off before pursuing his future opportunities.”

-Ken Kaiser Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

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