Jason Schiffer, assistant vice president of campus safety and chief of police at Lehigh University, has been named a finalist for Campus Safety magazine’s Higher Education/Health Care Campus Safety Director of the Year.
Schiffer, who joined Lehigh in 2018, was nominated by Assistant Chief of Police Chris Houtz. Houtz cited Schiffer’s visionary leadership and commitment to the university’s mission as key highlights of his nomination. He was inspired by Schiffer’s ability to conquer unique challenges, his commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity, and his compassion, which allows him to understand the needs of the community.
“When I saw the article to nominate a campus security director, I knew I had to nominate Jason,” Houtz said. “The work he did through the pandemic and what he has been doing since deserves this recognition.”
As chief of police for the Lehigh University Police Department (LUPD), Schiffer oversees a team that provides around-the-clock public safety services to more than 7,000 students and the larger university community. Schiffer supervises a team of 26 sworn police officers, six full-time dispatchers, and two full-time and 12 part-time security personnel. Under Schiffer’s tenure, LUPD has been named a Premier Agency by Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (PLEAC), an honor bestowed on only two percent of Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies.
Before joining Lehigh, Schiffer served as chief of police for the Bethlehem Police Department. He served as a patrol officer for 11 years before becoming a sergeant. He quickly ascended the ranks and became the chief in just six years. As a Bethlehem Police Officer, Schiffer envisioned strong police-community relations–a vision he continues to hold at Lehigh.
While working full-time as a sergeant, Schiffer attended Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 2008. Upon his retirement from the Bethlehem Police Department in 2013, he served as a practicing trial attorney and handled civil litigation matters in state and federal courts.
As assistant vice president of campus safety, Schiffer oversees the LUPD and Security Guards; Lehigh’s Campus Safety Communications Center; Identification, Electronic Access, and Locksmith (IDEAL) Office; Life Safety; Environmental Health and Safety; and Emergency Medical Services (LUEMS). The division, formed in 2021, joins teams whose work focuses on community safety and security, crisis and emergency response, campus law enforcement, crime prevention, and compliance with safety and security regulations, including the Jeanne Clery Act. This division was created with the goal of increased collaboration and coordination of safety, prevention and emergency-related functions across the university.
“What the university community has seen during Chief Schiffer’s tenure is the merging of a law enforcement organization and the philosophy of educating students and helping them grow and develop as people,” said Associate Dean of Students Christopher Mulvihill. “Chief Schiffer has been transformative in how he views his role.”
"I am deeply honored to be nominated for this award,” Schiffer said. “None of [these] accomplishments could have been achieved without the efforts of many within the Campus Safety Division and all of our partners across campus, including our students, faculty and staff. I am privileged to be part of the Lehigh community and I look forward to continuing work to improve the safety of all who live, work, research and learn at this institution."
Winners will be announced at the Campus Safety Conference West in Las Vegas on July 10-12, 2023.