Police Chief Gerald Lewis Departs UConn; Deputy Chiefs Fournier, Silver Splitting Role

Interim co-chiefs bring a wealth of UConn experience to their roles

The UConn Public Safety Complex.

The UConn Public Safety Complex (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Two highly respected veterans of the UConn Police Department will share duties as its interim co-chiefs in the wake of the departure of Chief Gerald Lewis, who recently left for a position at another institution.

Lewis resigned effective Sept. 2, having notified the department’s 100-plus sworn officers and employees last month that he had been selected to become vice president of public safety at Columbia University in New York City.

Hans Rhynhart, UConn’s associate vice president and head of the Division of University Safety, appointed Andrew Fournier and Magdalena Silver, currently both deputy chiefs, as interim co-chiefs while the timeline and process is determined for selecting Lewis’s replacement.

“I would like to thank and congratulate both chiefs for their willingness to step into these interim roles as we embark on a new and busy academic year,” Rhynhart says. “I would also like to thank Chief Lewis for his professionalism and experience over the last year. His leadership was welcomed by all, and we know Columbia will also benefit from it as well.”

Silver is overseeing UConn Police operations, which includes the work of all sworn uniformed patrol personnel at all campuses; compliance with the federal Clery Act; Professional Standards and the associated accreditation process; and the UCPD Community Outreach unit. She joined UCPD in 2004.

Fournier, who joined the department in 2004, is overseeing administration. That includes the detective and training bureaus; security services at UConn Health and other UConn campuses; special events and operations; threat management; and fleet and technology management.

He is also overseeing personnel management procedures in the department, including internal affairs, budgeting, hiring, payroll matters, and related work.

Lewis came to UConn as its police chief in summer 2021 from The University of Texas at San Antonio, and received praise there and at UConn for his work to build meaningful relationships and engage the campus communities.

“I have enjoyed my time at UConn and will miss the wonderful interactions with students, faculty, and staff. I am extremely blessed to have worked with the fine men and women of the UConn Police Department and Division of University Safety,” Lewis says.

“I have been extremely fortunate to be able to serve the UConn community as Chief of Police. I had no plans to leave, but an unexpected and once in a lifetime opportunity arose at another prestigious institution which I felt obligated to pursue,” he adds. “I extend my best wishes and gratitude to the entire UConn community for their support during my tenure.”