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Thomas G. Robbins named chief of BU Police

State Police colonel to take command on June 12

For the past two years, Thomas G. Robbins has been head of the Massachusetts State Police. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Thomas G. Robbins, who on April 11 was named executive director of public safety and chief of the Boston University Police Department (BUPD), is not a stranger to running a police force. The 26-year law-enforcement veteran has served as superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police for the past two years.

Robbins’ police career has been marked by increasingly sophisticated and challenging assignments, such as his appointment, following the September 11 terrorist attacks, as director of aviation security at Logan International Airport. The 48-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant will assume command on June 12 of the 43-member police department responsible for law enforcement and public services on the Charles River and Medical Campuses, which cover 132 acres. The BUPD is charged with protecting a community of more than 31,000 students and 9,300 faculty and staff.

“Colonel Robbins brings extensive experience and outstanding law-enforcement expertise to our ever-growing campus and to the increasingly complex security challenges in our world today,” says Peter Fiedler, vice president for administrative services at BU. “His seasoned leadership, qualifications, and training skills will immediately contribute to the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors, as well as prepare the department for the future.”       

As the head of the State Police, Robbins has been responsible for the executive administration of New England’s largest police force, consisting of 2,350 sworn officers and 435 civilian employees.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to the public safety of the Boston University community, and I’m grateful to the administration for this opportunity,” says Robbins, a 1991 graduate of Suffolk University Law School. “Policing of large universities has become increasingly complex over the past few decades, requiring highly professional police personnel to meet this growing demand. My principal goal will be to lead the efforts of the professional men and women of the Boston University Police Department to maintain an environment of safety and security, ensuring the fulfillment of the University’s academic mission.”

Prior to being appointed colonel and superintendent of the State Police by Governor Mitt Romney, Robbins was promoted to major and served for two years as troop commander at Logan Airport, where he was the principal architect of the security program for all Massport properties. Before that appointment, he took over aviation security at Logan just weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The airport went on to gain a reputation as a leader in security innovations. Its in-line baggage screening program was the first of its kind in the nation.

As a captain and the commandant of the Massachusetts State Police Academy for nearly two years, Robbins was responsible for all aspects of training for recruits and for in-service and specialty programs, including a review and update of training methodologies. For over one year, the then-lieutenant served as station commander of the Andover Barracks, and prior to that assignment, he was supervisor of the State Police North Shore Anti-Gang Violence Unit for four years, during which time he was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant.

Robbins also supervised state troopers assigned to patrol the city of Chelsea for two years during the city’s receivership, preceded by a two-year stint as supervisor of a selective 55-mile-per-hour State Police enforcement team while he was a corporal. As a trooper, he served as the assistant director of the police training academy in Topsfield for two years and as an instructor at the Massachusetts State Police Academy for four years.

Robbins earned a B.S. at Northeastern University and an M.S. in criminal justice at Westfield State College. He graduated first in his 50-member class from the Massachusetts State Police Academy in 1980.