July 31, 2014

Collinsville's assistant chief to head Lindenwood-Belleville security

Lindenwood University in Belleville has named Collinsville's assistant chief of police to be its new public safety director.

Major Tom Coppotelli, 49, will be the first person to hold the title when he starts his new job Friday.

"I really love working for Collinsville Police Department," Coppotelli said. "This is my family and I wasn't looking to leave. But Lindenwood, where I have been teaching, approached me and it was too good an opportunity to pass up."

The veteran police officer is a two-time graduate of Lindenwood Belleville, earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2009 and a master's in human resource management in 2011. He has also served as an adjunct instructor on campus for the past three years.

"We are thrilled to have Major Coppotelli assume the role of director of public safety and security," Angela Wingo, dean of students at Lindenwood-Belleville, said. "He brings a wealth of experience and ideas to the position, and our campus community will benefit greatly from his leadership. We look forward to Major Coppotelli assuming his role and moving our campus forward."

Coppotelli has served in the Collinsville Police Department since 1990 and has been assistant police chief for five years. Before that, he worked as a patrol officer for the Sauget and Washington Park police departments and served as a firefighter for the village of National City.

Lindenwood University did not say how much Coppotelli will be paid. But the veteran officer said he will start to collect his police department pension in about three weeks following his 50th birthday.

"I don't look at this as a retirement," Coppotelli said. "I view it as starting a new career."

In his new role at Lindenwood Belleville, Coppotelli will supervise armed police officers and unarmed safety officers through the Cops for Credit program and will oversee security and parking at the Belleville campus and Collinsville extension center, Wingo said.

Coppotelli said he was excited to have the chance to work more closely with his students by being on campus full time.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at or call 239-2626.

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