UNC – Chapel Hill has announced that Thomas C. Younce will serve as interim chief of UNC Police.

Younce has served in police departments in the UNC System and private universities in North Carolina, according to a message sent Wednesday afternoon announcing the hire.

“Throughout his career, Chief Younce has worked tirelessly to protect the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors at East Carolina University, NC State University and Queens University in Charlotte and as interim chief of police at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.”

Throughout those positions, Younce “developed a reputation for fostering strong relationships between the police force and their communities,” according to the message signed by interim chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, provost Bob Blouin and vice chancellor for finance and operations Jonathan Pruitt.

Younce was previously a captain in the US Air Foce, an agent for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and police chief for the City of Wilson, according to the university.

He is replacing Jeff McCracken, who announced his retirement earlier this spring. McCracken has helmed the police department since 2007, after serving at various roles for UNC Police since 1993.

The department drew criticism during the protests over Silent Sam in recent years from those both for and against the Confederate monument on the UNC campus, which was toppled last August.

“The national search for a police chief is ongoing,” according to Wednesday’s message. The university administration said it anticipates having a permanent police chief in place before the start of the academic year.