Major Angela Coonce, a 24-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and a champion of community policing, has been appointed chief of police for the Washington University in St. Louis Police Department, announced Shantay Bolton, executive vice chancellor and chief administrative officer.
Coonce, whose appointment is effective Aug. 1, succeeds Mark Glenn, who retired as WUPD chief last fall. Captain David Goodwin has served as interim chief of police.
Bolton called Coonce a mission-focused, values-driven and equity-centered leader.
“The aim of this search was to identify a leader who could establish progressive and inclusive public safety strategies and ensure our campuses remain welcoming and safe for every community member. We found that leader in Angela,” Bolton said. “She engages in big-picture thinking with an unwavering commitment to safety, respect, wellness, accountability and justice for all community members.”
Coonce has had a long and diverse career. She currently serves as commander of the North Patrol Division, which includes the two most challenging police districts in St. Louis City and accounts for one-third of its geographic area. In that role, Coonce dramatically expanded community outreach efforts that resulted in lower crime rates and improved relationships with residents.
Previously, she oversaw the police department’s Second District and its intelligence division. Coonce also launched the department’s first Real Time Crime Center and Gun Crimes Intelligence Center.
Coonce earned her undergraduate degree at Harris-Stowe State University and a graduate degree in management and leadership from Webster University. She earned a second graduate degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California. She also was a member of the inaugural cohort of the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certificate program.
Coonce called this position her “dream job” and said she is ready to build strong relationships with WashU students, faculty and staff as well as the university’s neighbors.
“A top priority for me will be to build trust by creating positive engagement opportunities, being transparent in our work and having candid conversations about policing and how we can improve,” Coonce said. “From the moment a student arrives on campus, they should feel respected and supported by WUPD.”
Coonce will oversee a team of some 47 deputized officers and 20 professional staff and implement the recommendations outlined in the Public Safety Committee Report, including creating new standards for engaging community members beyond emergency situations; developing a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy; and improving cultural education for officers.
Coonce also will work with law enforcement agencies across the region to improve safety in the surrounding communities.
“Our work does not stop at the university’s borders,” Coonce said. “Throughout the past 24 years, I’ve come to know the public safety leaders in our region and am ready to work with them as a team to ensure the safety of WashU community members off campus.”