Donnell Tanksley named Campus Safety/Campus Police Chief
Author: University Communications
Posted: November 17, 2017
Donnell Tanksley

Donnell Tanksley has been chosen as PSU’s new Campus Safety/Campus Police Chief—overseeing the office’s 28 staff, including 14 sworn police officers. He takes over from interim chief Vince Elmore on December 1.

Tanksley comes to PSU from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash, where he was assistant chief of police and assistant director of public safety for the past three years. Western Washington has a diverse student population of 15,574.

“My policing philosophy is deeply rooted in community engagement, fairness, equity, trust and legitimacy,” said Tanksley, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of patrol and support services for Western Washington.

He holds a master’s degree in management from Fontbonne University, and is completing a master’s in criminology from University of Missouri-St. Louis. He served with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for more than 20 years, and was a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.

Tanksley says he was drawn to PSU because of the University’s mission, “this idea that everyone should have a chance to get a  great education.”

His initial goals as chief are to connect with the PSU community, and to get people more familiar with the Campus Public Safety Office. “It’s important for them to know that if they’re concerned about something, we’re there for them.”

In addition to his work with Campus Safety, Tanksley plans to engage with the Portland community, especially finding ways to help veterans and the homeless.