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University of Massachusetts Amherst police chief sworn in at Mullins Center ceremony

  • UMass Police Chief John Horvathhas established a mobile field force in which up to 10 police officers will be assigned to a van on select weekends that will patrol areas where large gatherings are anticipated.<br/>BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

    UMass Police Chief John Horvathhas established a mobile field force in which up to 10 police officers will be assigned to a van on select weekends that will patrol areas where large gatherings are anticipated.
    BULLETIN FILE PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »

  • Chief Horvath, who has been on the job here for two weeks, came to UMass from the Connecticut Department of Correction.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Chief Horvath, who has been on the job here for two weeks, came to UMass from the Connecticut Department of Correction.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Newly inducted UMass Police Chief John Horvath spoke with reporters after being sworn in Thursday in the Mullin Center on campus.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Newly inducted UMass Police Chief John Horvath spoke with reporters after being sworn in Thursday in the Mullin Center on campus.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Newly inducted UMass Police Chief John Horvath<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Newly inducted UMass Police Chief John Horvath
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass Police Chief John Horvathhas established a mobile field force in which up to 10 police officers will be assigned to a van on select weekends that will patrol areas where large gatherings are anticipated.<br/>BULLETIN FILE PHOTO
  • Chief Horvath, who has been on the job here for two weeks, came to UMass from the Connecticut Department of Correction.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Newly inducted UMass Police Chief John Horvath spoke with reporters after being sworn in Thursday in the Mullin Center on campus.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Newly inducted UMass Police Chief John Horvath<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

“I will be looking for participation and feedback from the campus community and the greater Amherst community,” said Horvath, who was sworn in as the ninth UMass police chief in a ceremony Thursday morning at the Mullins Center. “Members of our department do a great job in keeping this community safe.”

Horvath succeeds Johnny Whitehead, who departed in February to lead the police department at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Horvath is being paid $140,000 annually.

He cited as his main objectives as chief fostering communication and community engagement to ensure safety at the university and minimizing disruptions by students off campus.

“Ultimately I have responsibility to parents of the students who go here,” Horvath said.

Horvath said he intends to be available and engaged in understanding issues of noise, trash and disruptions in neighborhoods in Amherst and Hadley where students rent homes.

“I’m looking forward to a very good working relationship with the Amherst Police Department and the Hadley Police Department,” Horvath said.

Horvath, 42, began his law enforcement career in 1994 in Hartford, rising to become assistant chief of operations there. He has served as an officer, sergeant and lieutenant. Before joining the department, he worked with the Connecticut Department of Correction.

Coming to Amherst is a great opportunity, he said. “I’m very excited to be here. I’ve been very eager to join the UMass family,” Horvath said.

The official swearing-in was administered by James Sheehan, the vice chancellor of administration and finance, who hired Horvath. Sheehan said more than 100 applications were received for the position before the field was narrowed to six finalists.

Once the oath was administered, Horvath’s daughter, Sarah, a high school senior, pinned the badge to his uniform.

Horvath thanked his wife, Dina, for her support, and his mother, Maryann Rowley, and stepfather, Lee, for their guidance. “Thank you all for being my side,” Horvath said.

Sarah Horvath said coming to UMass will be a good change for her father. “I’m so proud of him. I know he’ll do great,” she said.

Horvath said he hopes to be a selfless leader who will promote safety and quality of life. “As your police chief, I stand ready and responsible to serve this community,” he said.

Pushing forward the department, with its 63 sworn officers, will be an objective. “I’ll never sit back and rest on my laurels,” Horvath said.

This fits in with what UMass chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said has been a challenge made to all departments to excel to the highest standards.

Subbaswamy said he is confident that UMass police under Horvath will “create a safe, secure and nurturing community.”

Horvath said he has already met with Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone, describing him as a “very smart, experienced chief” and is ready to discuss the role UMass police can play in quelling off-campus issues.

After Columbus Day, Livingstone said he expects UMass and Amherst police to work together on improving neighborhoods near the campus. (See related story.)

“We’ll formulate a long-term plan for the best way to put this into action,” Livingstone said.

He said he likes that Horvath has experience with a municipal police department. That gives him familiarity with problems communities need to solve, Livingstone said.

Sheehan applauded Deputy Police Chief Patrick Archbald for his service as interim chief since February.

The ceremony began with a brief procession with officers holding the American and state flags and the singing of the national anthem by UMass patrolman James Sullivan of Hatfield.

Besides the police officers and staff and municipal and university officials, Hampshire County Sheriff Robert Garvey, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and Eastern Hampshire District Court Judge John Payne Jr. attended the ceremony.

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