New Chief of University Police Department

A photo of UPD Chief of Police Greg Allen.
UPD Chief Greg Allen
Cal Poly Humboldt alumnus Greg Allen (‘94, Social Work), whose professional and personal roots run deep in Humboldt, has been named  Associate Vice President for Safety & Community Wellbeing for the University Police Department. 

Allen began his tenure Monday, May 20, and brings with him more than two decades of experience in law enforcement, emergency preparedness, and building community policing partnerships. 

“This is an amazing opportunity to lead the Department while understanding the needs of students, staff, faculty, and members of our local community,” Allen says. 

“We are elated to have Greg Allen join the University.  He is a strong leader with experience building teams, fostering an environment of inclusion, and strengthening partnerships,” Gordon says. “He has a passion and commitment to 21st-century policing. We look forward to Greg Allen’s ability to evolve our department in alignment with our polytechnic transformation.” 

Allen returns to where it all began: Cal Poly Humboldt as a student and, later, the University police department, where he served as Acting Sergeant from 2000-2005. Allen became a parole officer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and later, the Deputy/Lieutenant for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. He comes to Humboldt after serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Rio Dell.  

“I was a teenager when I came here. At Cal Poly Humboldt, I grew up as a student and then later became a police officer.  I’ve come full circle and it’s like coming home,” Allen says.  

A proud alumnus and graduate of the Social Work program, Allen says faculty and administrators played a significant role in his success as a student. Among his mentors was RW Hicks, who was the director of the Student Academic Services Outreach Program and the federal Talent Search TRIO Program at Humboldt. 

“RW is one of the reasons I came up here,” says Allen, who was part of the Educational Opportunity Program. “He modeled leadership and inspired me to be a leader as  president of the Black Student Union.” 

He says the knowledge and skills he learned from the Social Work program and minor in Ethnic Studies are foundational to his approach to law enforcement today. 

“I learned to avoid generalizations. Each person should be treated with respect and fairness. It’s important for officers to be sensitive to someone’s background because everyone has a story, which shapes who they are today,” he says.

He passes on this wisdom to officers-in-training at College of the Redwoods Police Academy. 

“I believe in communicating what we do and why. With those skills, you can de-escalate a situation.  Also learning to be adaptive in law enforcement is crucial in a world where everyone’s needs are constantly evolving.”

Allen says his top priority will be building relationships by having conversations with the campus and local community about what policing looks like at a University as opposed to a city. He also plans to understand the strengths of UPD, while providing additional training that may be needed to better serve the campus community.