The public safety department of Indiana State University is getting a new Director and Chief of Police.
Michelle Barett is taking over for Chief of Police Joseph Newport as he leaves for retirement.
Her new position won’t take effect until January of 2020, but when that occurs, Barrett will be Indiana State’s very first woman in the Chief position.
“I have over 40 years in this business. It’s a great time for me to move on personally, but also for the department to grow even more than it has in the last 20 years,” said Newport.
Barrett has experience at Indiana State University, but also within the city of Terre Haute. “I retired from Terre Haute City Police in 2014 after almost 21 years of service there,” said Barrett. After her time spent with Terre Haute City Police working under Newport as Assistant Chief of Police of Detectives, she came to Indiana State.
“I thought this would be a great fit because I worked for him before and knew his reputation and I learned a lot from him during my five years here,” said Barrett. “He's had over 20 years at Terre Haute City as administrator and now 20 years here at ISU. He will definitely be a large void in this department.”
Newport says that he’s excited for the new changes to come.
“I'm really excited I've enjoyed my past five or six years here at ISU police so I’m excited to be in this new department,” said Michele Barrett, new Chief of Police and previous assistant Chief of Police.
Barrett shared her previous experiences as the Assistant Chief of Police.
“Campus police is definitely everyone’s idea of community policing and you're’ working with other departments of the University, you’re working with students, you’re actually getting involved with some of the educational process with students,” said Barrett.
She also does her fair share of getting involved on campus and interacting with various student-led organizations.
“I was asked to speak at a lot of different classes and talk at different functions for these different student organizations so it’s really like a breath of fresh air to get that perspective in law enforcement when you usually don’t have that a lot,” said Barrett.
In terms of being the first woman in the Chief, it isn’t anything new for Barrett’s career.
“I think there's been a lot of firsts in my career since coming to Terre Haute in 1993 so I'm just humbled and honored and happy to take this position,” said Barrett.
Many see this as a step forward at Indiana State when it comes to State’s value of diversity on the job.
“I think that regardless of her gender, she is an excellent police officer and I think has all the tools to be an excellent leader of the department,” said Newport. “It’s an added bonus that she can reflect the openness of Indiana State University and it’s history of making sure that all people are given an opportunity to have more jobs.”