KSU hires new safety head

State Journal staff report Published:

Kentucky State University has hired Paducah Police Chief James Berry as director of security and safety affairs, KSU announced Friday in a press release.

Berry, who has worked in Paducah since 2009, will start his job at KSU Aug. 16, according to the release.

A 38-year law enforcement veteran, Berry has also served as assistant police chief in Hartford, Conn., chief of security for the City of Hartford School System and chief of police departments in Trumbull, Conn., and Manchester, Conn.

“We are pleased that Mr. Berry will be joining the leadership team at Kentucky State University,” KSU President Mary Sias said in a statement. “Over his extensive career in law enforcement, and as an active member of the community, he has demonstrated strengths and characteristics that will serve the KSU community well.”

KSU is entangled in litigation with its former police chief, Stephanie Bastin, who was fired Feb. 7. Her lawsuit, filed in May, alleges the university retaliated against her for whistle blowing and discriminated against her based on race.

KSU officials cited reprimands against Bastin for her dismissal.

Berry will report to Lorenzo Esters, vice president for student success and enrollment management. Esters said in the release that KSU’s search yielded several qualified applicants, but Berry’s experience in local law enforcement and a school system distinguished him from other applicants.

“I’m very pleased to be here and try to be an asset for this university,” Berry said Friday during a KSU Board of Regents meeting.

“... Education is a love of mine. It’s always a pleasure to be in the world of academia.”

He was highly recommended by an interview committee that included the Frankfort Police Department, fire safety and risk management, according to the release.

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