Ashleigh Crouch, Correspondent
Rob Schaffer turned on his radio and called 10-42, or “ending tour of duty,” for the last time on Wednesday.
Up to that point, Schaffer had served as chief of the University Police Department since 2018, but first joined the department in February of 2002. Schaffer has led the department through the catastrophic tornadoes that struck campus in 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank you all for the retirement well wishes,” said Schaffer on Thursday. “Today marked the first day into an unknown, but somewhat exciting new chapter of our lives.”
Last year, Schaffer’s father passed away, leading him to realize “that life is indeed short.”
“I was in a position to be able to retire and decided to take that opportunity to spend more time with my family,” said Schaffer. “They have fully supported me during my military enlistment in the Air Force and over 25 years in law enforcement, the last 18 at Jacksonville State University.”
Schaffer said that the employees in the department and university are “among the most dedicated groups” that he has “had the pleasure of being associated with.”
“My time as Chief of the University Police Department has been the most rewarding of my career,” he said. “I truly leave behind those that I consider extended family and lifelong friends.”
The current deputy chief, Brian Mann, spoke of his time working with Schaffer and his respect for him as a person and as his chief. The two worked together for 12 years in the UPD.
“Rob was and still is well-respected within the department,” said Mann. “He was a mentor to me during my time working with him.” Mann went on to describe Schaffer as a “close friend and a good man.”
Schaffer met with James Brigham, the university’s senior vice president for finance and administration, on Wednesday to discuss the future of the department and who would step in as interim chief.
Ultimately, Elizabeth Morrow, the department’s emergency management and clery coordinator, was chosen to step in as interim chief until a permanent chief is hired.
“Mrs. Elizabeth Morrow will serve the University well in her interim role as Director and I can think of nobody better to lead the police officers than Deputy Chief Brian Mann,” said Schaffer. “With the leadership left within UPD, the students, faculty, and staff are in great hands.”