Penn State Police Chief

A Follow-Up on His First Year

Juliet Mercado, Staff Writer

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Keith Morris, a Penn State alumnus, is proudly serving his first year as Chief of Police at University Park. Morris officially became chief at Penn State on April 20th after twenty years of service at the Allentown Police Department near the Lehigh Valley campus. A previous Penn State article explains Morris’ experience and transition into the new position. More recently, Morris has agreed to answer a few questions about his time at Penn State.

First, he reflected on his previous years as a Penn State student. “I love everything about Penn State, the beautiful campus, the solid sports programs, and all the activities,” Morris explains, “If I could do it all over as an adult, I would. My only regret is not taking full advantage and doing more.” Although Morris cannot turn back the clock, he does gain a new perspective on the behind-the-scenes of school events. “As a student,” he says, “you attend many of the activities with no thought at all about what it takes to put the event together or what is going on behind the scenes. As an employee, you see exactly how much work goes into the planning and execution of the events.” In fact, during a typical day at work, Morris attends meetings “such as event preparation, and various staff meetings” as well as “community events where [he has] the opportunity to talk with students and community members.” Morris describes this new perspective as: “Totally different…one that I thoroughly enjoy and have a whole new respect for.” Evidently, as a Penn State alum, returning to University Park as chief of police after graduating with a bachelor of science in administrative justice in 1955 is extremely exciting. 

When Morris graduated, he would have never “in a million years” pictured himself in this position. “I did not know what my life had in store for me,” he explains, “I knew I wanted to be a police officer, but I wasn’t sure how that would play out. I also knew that I wanted to find a way to give back to Penn State for the education that I received, and after 20 years of experience in Allentown, I thought this was the perfect day to do just that.” And definitely, Morris does give back. He usually gets to work “around 6:00 AM and am there until about 5:00 PM during the week. On weeks that there is a home football game, the days are longer. This past week was the Penn State – Michigan game, and I arrived at about 5:15 in the morning and did not get home until 2:00 AM…but a Penn State victory made it all worthwhile!” Morris elaborates that Penn State victories aren’t the only exciting aspect of his job. He explains the importance of achieving the “overarching goal: ensuring the safety of our community” and how he gets to “get out and interact with students, officers, and community members” while simultaneously meeting this goal.

Morris concludes, “The best part of being a police chief is that you get to learn and experience new things, take on new responsibilities, all while still having the ability to be a police officer.” He looks forward to giving back to Penn State.