Criminal Justice Alumna and Department Veteran Named Second-in-Command

A young man pins a police badge on his mom during a ceremony Image by Ed Brennen
Melissa Mullen of the UMass Lowell Police Department receives her new deputy chief badge from her son, Gavin, during a ceremony at University Crossing.

By Ed Brennen

Criminal justice alumna Melissa Mullen ’98 has held many titles in her 28 years with the UMass Lowell Police Department.
She can now add one more: deputy chief.
Mullen was sworn in as the department’s second-in-command by Chancellor Julie Chen during a ceremony at University Crossing. Mullen, previously a lieutenant, succeeds Ron Dickerson, who became the university's police chief in July.
A native of Wilmington, Massachusetts, Mullen joined the UML police department in 1995. She earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from UML in 1998 before receiving a law degree from the Massachusetts School of Law.
“I really wanted this position, so I’m happy to be chosen,” she said. “The department is all I know. It’s like my second family — same as the university.” 
Mullen is the first woman to be named deputy chief.
A woman in a police uniform is sworn in by a woman who is holding a piece of paper Image by Ed Brennen
Melissa Mullen is sworn in as deputy chief of the university police department by Chancellor Julie Chen.
“It’s great to have women in leadership positions at the university, especially within the police department,” said Mullen, who was joined at the ceremony by her son, Gavin, and father, Frank. 
Chen noted that she and Mullen joined the university around the same time, and that she has always enjoyed seeing how Mullen interacts with people on campus.
“The confidence and joy they have in seeing you elevate to this position is because of everything you give to this university,” Chen said.
Dickerson added that he is “forever thankful” for the support he has received from Mullen since he joined the department 12 years ago.
“From day one, I could rely on her for good advice — and not what I wanted to hear,” he said. “I can’t think of a better person to take this position. She was the clear choice.”