On the Reassignment of Lt. Holmes: In response to a series of letters circulated on the pfsni listserv and published in the University City Review, Penn's EVP John Fry issued the statement below. The second letter below, separately written to a PFSNI member and released on the listserv, is used with Lt. Holmes's permission.--Ed.

An Open Letter to the Penn and West Philadelphia Communities

Recently there has been concern expressed by community members regarding the reassignment of Lieutenant Susan Holmes of the University of Pennsylvania Police Department from the Special Services Unit to Watch Commander of the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. This change is a positive move for Lt. Holmes in terms of her career development. Lt. Holmes is a valued and respected member of the Penn Police Force, and her supervisor, Managing Director Tom Seamon, expects her superlative efforts on behalf of public safety to continue. The 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift was in great need of a strong manager, and Lt. Holmes is well suited to the demands and challenges that her new job will present.

Certainly we all will miss Lt. Holmes's contribution to the Special Services Unit of the Penn Police. Her duties included supervisory responsibility for police officers engaged in crime prevention activities, victim support, and the investigation of sexual offenses. In addition to these activities, she also acted as a liaison to various commmunity groups. While continuity is important to a job like this, it is important to retain an ability to assign talented people to areas where they are needed. Clearly, the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift is such an assignment.

As a onetime resident of the area who has continued her ties there, Lt. Holmes, like many other Penn faculty, staff, and students, devotes an enormous amount of her off-duty time to the betterment of the community. It is our hope that she will continue with this volunteer work and to serve as a role model for her fellow officers as an individual who combines her dedication to the profession of law enforcement with a devotion to public service.

In the meantime, we look forward to the contributions that Susan Hawkins, the new Director of Special Services, will make to Penn and the community. A recent addition to the Penn Police Department, she is well qualified and excited about continuing and expanding the University's liaison to the West Philadelphia community. Our commitment to the community remains as strong as ever and will continue to improve under the leadership of Ms. Hawkins.

-- John Fry, Executive Vice President

A Message from Lt. Holmes

Back in July of 1993, Commissioner Kuprevich assigned me from the Shift Commander (3-11 p.m.) to Community Relations/Special Assignments. I have had the pleasure of working with the community on many different assignments--18th Police Advisory Council--Neighborhood Revitalization Dinner and the Confiscation/Renovation of a former "crack" house; West Philadelphia Partnership-Neighborhood Townwatch Network which has nearly doubled in size in the 18th District alone (thanks to November's "Take Back the Night"); Spruce Hill Community Association; Squirrel Hill Sub-Station. And the list of organizations/groups goes on and on.

I will always be grateful to Commissioner Kuprevich and Managing Director Seamon for giving me the opportunity to serve the community in such an unique manner, and for placing their faith and trust in me to "do the right thing."

Judging by the comments of various community members in their letters, e-mails, etc., I have accomplished what I set out to do--to improve relations between Penn and the Community; to remind others that Penn and the Community's fates are intertwined; and that their goals do not have to be/and are not mutually exclusive; to serve as a "voice" for the community within Penn. I have been very fortunate to have such wonderful mentors as P.P.D. Community Relations Officer Ed Ryals and Penn's Director of Community Relations, Glenn Bryan, who have given me guidance over the years.

Although my reassignment to midnight shift is not one that I would have volunteered for, I do not dispute the managerial need for a shift commander during said hours. The Division of Public Safety has been and is in the process of restructuring. No matter where I am assigned, I can assure you that I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability; to promote Community Policing and serve as a role model for officers. Just as Town Watch is a way of life, so is public-service.

The support and praise that I have received over the past two weeks from community members is priceless and it keeps me going. Along the way, I have formed many friendships that will long out-live any assignment given to me.

But remember one thing--do not lose sight of your goal(s). You have made so much progress in the past few years; let's not lose any ground gained!

As soon as am I situated in my new assignment, I will certainly let you know how I can be reached. My sons attend the Penn Children's Center and the University City New School (42nd and Locust Streets)--so, there will be times when I will be on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood during "daylight" hours. I know it is not the same level of access as before, but we can make it work.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

And thank you again for your kind words. You'll never know just how much they have meant to me and my family!

-- Sue Holmes


Volume 43 Number 20
February 4, 1997

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