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UPDATE: ETSU police chief cited 'cultural imbalance' in resignation letter

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Aug 22, 2019 at 8:17 PM

After just a year on the job, Northeast Tennessee’s first female chief law enforcement officer has resigned following a meeting with campus officials Monday morning, citing concerns about “a cultural imbalance in the department.”

East Tennessee State University Public Safety Chief Nicole Collins had tendered her resignation effective Nov. 30, according to university records released Thursday.

“Per our meeting this morning, I understand that the institution is no longer interested in pursuing national and international accreditation and a cultural imbalance in the department,” Collins’ resignation letter read. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve the ETSU community and Johnson City and retention of my title and benefits until I find another job or the effective date in this letter, depending upon which is sooner.”

Joe Smith, executive assistant to the president for university relations and chief communications officer, said Collins had already left administrative duties, however, and another officer had assumed day-to-day operations.

ETSU Capt. Mark Tipton had assumed oversight of the operations and administrative responsibilities for the ETSU Department of Public Safety. Collins was working with the university administration on special projects and other initiatives.

Collins joined the university July 1, 2018, to succeed Jack Cotrel, who retired after 40 years of service at ETSU, the last 17 as chief. Collins came from New York University, where she served as assistant vice president in the Department of Public Safety and was responsible for overseeing field operations.

Collins grew up in Knoxville and started her law enforcement career at the University of Tennessee after serving four years in the Navy. She also served three years with the Marine Corps Reserves.

Efforts to reach Collins on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Reported earlier:

After just a year on the job, Northeast Tennessee’s first female chief law enforcement officers has resigned.

An East Tennessee State University spokesman confirmed Thursday that Public Safety Chief Nicole Collins had tendered her resignation effective Nov. 30.

Joe Smith, executive assistant to the president for University Relations and chief communications officer, said Collins had already left administrative duties, however, and another officer had assumed day-to-day operations.

ETSU Capt. Mark Tipton had assumed oversight of the operations and administrative responsibilities for the ETSU Department of Public Safety. Collins was working with the university administration on special projects and other initiatives.

Collins joined the university July 1, 2018, to succeed Jack Cotrel, who retired after 40 years of service at ETSU, the last 17 as chief. Collins came from New York University where she served as assistant vice president in the Department of Public Safety and was responsible for overseeing field operations.

Collins grew up in Knoxville and started her law enforcement career at the University of Tennessee after serving four years in the Navy. She also served three years with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.

This is a developing story.

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