Dr. David Wantz, a former Baltimore police officer who serves as vice president for government and community relations and special assistant to the president at the University of Indianapolis, has been named interim director of the Indianapolis Department of Safety.
He was appointed by Mayor Greg Ballard to replace Troy Riggs, who has accepted a newly created public safety research and outreach position at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Wantz, 61, previously taught at the Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield. He will fulfill the role as a “loaned executive,” with his appointment beginning Aug. 1 and continuing through the end of Ballard’s term in office in January 2016.
“My full attention will be on the safety of Marion County’s citizens. If the university needs me, I’m just a phone call away,” said Wantz, who resume his normal duties with UIndy in about five months.
“I am so pleased to be able to bring on someone of David’s caliber to lead the Department of Public Safety through the end of my term as mayor,” Ballard said. “Our city has come to expect a high level of experience and understanding of community issues from our public safety director, and David is a perfect fit. He brings the right mix of public safety expertise, organizational leadership and a true passion for improving our city’s neighborhoods.”
In addition to police work and community outreach roles, Wantz served 10 years on the Perry Township Fire Department Merit Board, chaired the Marion County Fire Department Efficiency Commission, served 10 years on the Law Enforcement Training Board and supervised the UIndy Police Department.
“I am honored to take on the role of interim public safety director, and I look forward to continuing the good work that is already underway in Indianapolis with data-driven law enforcement, engagement in the city’s focus areas and ensuring a seamless transition to the next administration in 2016,” said Wantz. “I don’t have anything to prove; I’m not going to implement any programs. I’m just going to keep this city safe for five months.”
This city is on the right track with the 360 Coalition, Your Life Matters and many other supportive community initiatives, and the Department of Public Safety will continue to play a key role in these types of wrap-around programs.”
“UIndy is a university of the city and for the city, and if our talent and expertise can help fill a need for Indianapolis, we are happy to assist, in the spirit of our longstanding partnership with local government,” university President Robert Manuel said. “David’s unique skill set has allowed him to serve the university in a range of roles, and it makes him a strong choice for this interim position in our community.”
“From the moment I arrived here, David has been supportive of the work done by the Department of Public Safety,” said Riggs. “He understands our data initiative and the efforts being made in our six focus areas. I think he will do a great job as interim director, and I have offered to help him in his transition.”
Wantz is a tenured, associate professor of psychology who earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Milligan College and master’s from UIndy and Indiana University, where he earned his doctorate.