John Foster, a 30-year veteran of the Ball State University Police Department, has been promoted by the University as its new assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police.
Chief Foster, whose new assignment began Monday, succeeds James Duckham, who served as director of public safety and chief of police from 2014 until his retirement on Aug. 30.
“I am excited to welcome Chief Foster to this new role as he continues to dutifully serve the campus and its surrounding communities,” said Ro-Anne Royer Engle, vice president of student affairs at Ball State, which oversees the University’s Department of Public Safety. “John has devoted his life to understanding the complexities of policing while taking steps to continually learn and improve upon past performance. I look forward to working with John as we strive to enhance the quality of life for Ball State students while optimizing the effectiveness of our police operations.”
Chief Foster, who earned both his bachelor’s (Criminal Justice, 1996) and master’s (Public Administration, 2022) degrees from Ball State, said he is grateful to the Board of Trustees, President Geoffrey S. Mearns, Vice President Royer Engle, and the search committee for the opportunity to serve in such a meaningful role at his alma mater.
“Since beginning my law enforcement career with the Ball State University Police Department, I have taken seriously our mission of providing a safe living and learning environment on campus and throughout Muncie and the East Central Indiana region,” Chief Foster said. “I believe that to be successful in this position, our agency must continue to forge positive relationships with those we serve. To do that, we will actively seek opportunities to meet and engage with our community partners and strive to solve problems objectively and with compassion for others.”
Chief Foster joined the Ball State University Police Department in 1993 as a reserve officer and has risen through the ranks as a police officer, sergeant, and lieutenant. Over the past three decades, he has honed his skill as an investigator, serving as supervisor of the Investigations Division of the University Police Department and serving on the county’s drug taskforce and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force as a sworn Special Deputy United States Marshall. Over the last 25 years, Chief Foster has also been a primary instructor in the police department and has taught officers and members of the community about a variety of law enforcement topics.
“John’s commitment to officer training, use of technology to improve policing, work with other law enforcement agencies, leadership in community policing, problem-solving skill, and dedication to the values and mission of Ball State University make him the ideal leader for the University Police Department,” Ms. Royer-Engle said.
In addition to announcing Chief Foster’s promotion, Ms. Royer Engle thanked Al Williams for his service as interim director of public safety and chief of police during the search. Mr. Williams has returned to his role as associate director of public safety and assistant chief of police.