Before Abe Haroon became director of Ferris’ Department of Public Safety, there was John Allen who held the position for a little over a year.
Allen held the position at DPS from March 2021 until June 2022, when he decided to take the position of chief at the Riverview Police Department. Allen implemented changes to DPS throughout his short time there, trying to give officers and students a comfortable place to live and work.
Before taking the job at Ferris, Allen was chief of the Melvindale Police Department. Allen explained that he switched to Ferris because he was looking to retire further north, and he liked the area. Allen also explained that he was looking for a different direction than “traditional policing” and wanted to do something that he had never done before. Working on a college campus checked those boxes.
“Ferris was a lot more challenging in the beginning because there’s different things from a police aspect that you have to learn,” Allen said. “I actually think it’s actually kind of a better policing [because] you get to do more community related stuff, and you get to do more crime prevention.”
DPS dispatcher Brittany Taylor worked there during Allen’s time as director. Taylor explained how serious Allen was about the officers completing their training for the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standard Certification.
“He actually kept up on assigning them those trainings,” Taylor said. “I feel like… every month he would assign a handful to them for them to complete and whatnot, and they all would. He was definitely adamant on the training part and kept up on that.”
In addition to the training process with the officers, Taylor explained that Allen tried to help save the university money whenever he could. One of these being switching the parking services at Ferris. Allen explained the reason behind changing the parking services.
“Another part of the change we did is we took our parking services and we combined services with auxiliary services.” Allen said. “And we moved it to the Bulldog Center so that the students would have a better experience dealing with all aspects of the campus in one location, which I thought was a better experience for our community.”
Allen also implemented the app-based parking system, which would replace the coin-operated meters that are currently on campus. He explained that he wanted to make it easier for the community to park on campus. The idea behind the new system was that he doesn’t know many people who carry change, but he knows that everyone has a phone. Taylor explained that this system is almost ready, with a few things left to do before it’s done. Allen is also the one who suggested body cameras, which DPS plans to implement towards the beginning of next year.
Jordan Williams is a part time clerical worker at DPS. Williams said that Allen created a great environment to work in because he listened to everyone’s concerns from staff to students and took them seriously. She enjoyed her time working for him, and while she was sad that he left, she understood why he did.
Allen spent the year he was at Ferris commuting back and forth every two weeks between here and his family. He explained that while he loved his job at Ferris, it was hard on his family. The decision to leave Ferris was a tough one, but his family comes first. Allen began his job as chief of the Riverview Police Department last June, where he plans to stay for another five to ten years until he retires.