FAIRFIELD — After serving as Sacred Heart University’s assistant director of public safety since 2011, Edward Shea has been promoted to deputy chief of public safety at the university.

Edward Shea, of West Haven, also serves as an adjunct criminal justice professor.

Over the last eight years, the university said in a news release on Thursday, Shea helped lead the operations at the 48-member public safety department at SHU.

“It has been so exciting to see the incredible growth of SHU over the last several years,” said a prepared statement from Shea. “We have become a model of change and innovation in so many ways. ... My goal is to see this agency emerge as a leader in our field, just as so many other aspects of our University are proudly doing.”

The position of deputy chief is newly created, the university said. In his new role, Shea will advise and help the chief in development and administration of procedures, policies and programs, while also helping with budgets and capital expenditures.

“He will seek and manage grants to enhance the department, implement and draft department policies, communicate with other departments to further public safety’s mission and goals, oversee activities of special units and assume other duties to foster and maintain a safe and secure environment for the university,” the news release said.

Before joining Sacred Heart, Shea worked at the Milford Police Department for 23 years. There, he started as a patrolman and worked up to captain of the patrol division.

Throughout his police career, Shea accomplished a lot.

The news release said he created the department’s first community policing unit, instructed Regional Police Training Academy recruits, taught classes in the Milford Police Citizen’s Academy and managed special divisions, including the K9 unit, bike patrol unit and crime suppression unit.

Shea also was appointed by the mayor to serve as Milford’s homeland security grant coordinator, the news release said.

Shea is also an alumnus of Sacred Heart University, having earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from the school in 2017. Before that, he got a certificate in infrastructure protection from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration from Charter Oak State College.

Shea said in his prepared statement that he looks forward to working alongside Gary MacNamara, executive director of public safety and government affairs at SHU. MacNamara said the SHU community is “lucky to have” Shea leading the men and women of the public safety unit.

MacNamara announced his retirement as chief of the Fairfield Police Department last year.