Linda Stump-Kurnick, UF’s first female police chief, transitioning to assistant VP

Linda Stump-Kurnick, who 21 years ago became the University of Florida’s first female police chief as well as the first female police chief at any Florida public university, is transitioning to the role of Assistant Vice President of Public Safety.

UFPD Deputy Chief Bart Knowles, the department’s police commander, now serves as interim chief of the UF Police Department.

“Linda has been a true pioneer in law enforcement and, in particular, the unique world of higher education police work. In more than two decades at UF, she has seen some of the most challenging events anyone can imagine, and we are tremendously grateful for her steady hand and level head,” UF President Ben Sasse said. “We will continue to draw on her wisdom and strong leadership skills.”

Portrait of UF Police chief Linda Stump Kurnick

UFPD Chief Linda Stump-Kurnick

A native of Lafayette, Indiana, Stump-Kurnick joined the UF Police Department in July 2003 from Purdue University, where she gained extensive law enforcement experience in large event security. She was certified in Advanced Threat Assessment through the Gavin de Becker & Associates Management Academy in 2008 and is a graduate of the first Crisis Leadership in Higher Education course at Harvard in 2009. In 2017 she was the recipient of the first annual Champion of Change Award, presented by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. In 2021, she was awarded an Executive Certificate in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy Graduate School.

Stump-Kurnick holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and corrections from Ball State University, a master’s degree in higher education administration from Purdue University and is a graduate of Florida and Indiana Law Enforcement Academies and the FBI National Academy.

“Twenty-one years ago, I had the opportunity to accept my position as Chief of Police at the University of Florida, and it has been my privilege to serve the Gator Nation in this capacity,” Stump-Kurnick said. “I feel honored to continue in my role as Assistant Vice President of Public Safety.”

In her AVP role, Stump-Kurnick will continue working to improve campus safety.

portrait of UF Deputy Police Chief Bart Knowles

Bart Knowles, UFPD Deputy Chief

Knowles began his law enforcement career as a Hernando County sheriff’s deputy in 1988 and transferred to the Gainesville Police Department in 1991.  At GPD, he served in a variety of areas within the department including Uniform Patrol, Special Operations, Narcotics/Vice, State Attorney’s Task Force, DEA Task Force, and Human Resources.  He also served as GPD’s Rifle Team Commander and SWAT Commander.  He retired in 2010 as a captain, commanding approximately 220 sworn and civilian personnel.

He was selected as the 2000 “COP” officer of the year and the 2001 employee of the year, and he attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Following his retirement from GPD, Knowles accepted a position with the UF Police Department in 2010 and most recently oversaw the Uniform Patrol Division, Investigations, Community Services, Communications, Special Events, and Administrative Services.

A national search for Stump-Kurnick’s successor will begin soon.

UF News June 12, 2024