New police chief set on protecting the IU Health brand

His experience in public service comes as much from his upbringing as from his profession. Roman Holowka was recently named police chief of IU Health AHC Campus and he is proud to serve and protect.

There’s something very personable about Roman Holowka. It’s a presence he hopes will spread across the IU Health campus. He sees his role as the new police chief of IU Health as a member of team committed to providing the best customer service possible to patients, families and staff members.

“When our patients and families walk through the doors I want the men and women of the AHC police department to be passionate and fair. When patients come in contact with someone in uniform I expect them to receive the same customer service as anyone else they come into contact with,” said Holowka.

Raised on the north side of Chicago, this Cubs fan learned at a young age the importance of family. His father’s parents Gregory and Valerie Holowka were Auschwitz survivors and moved to the United States seeking new opportunities.

“When they came to this country there were few family members. Being Polish, I was raised to value family and community. We lived on the same block,” said Holowka. His grandparents found support through their church and Valerie Holowka named his dad “Roman” after the New Testament book of the bible composed by the Apostle Paul explaining salvation. His mom’s father – Grandpa Gene – was a Korean War veteran and his Grandma Otha, was a nurse in Chicago who administered care to inner city children who couldn’t afford to go the hospitals.

“I think that’s where I got my interest in healthcare was from my grandma,” said Holowka. In high school he played football and baseball and after graduation he enrolled in the Navy for four years. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor for a time and is a disabled Gulf War veteran.

“Even before the Navy, I felt my calling as a public servant. I used the Navy to gain experience learning about rank structure, discipline, and putting others before yourself,” said Holowka. When he moved to Indiana his dad and mom – Roman and Jackie moved too and live down the street from him. His sister Natalie Holowka also moved to Indiana.

Twenty-one years ago he married his wife Brandy. She was a server at a steak house and he wrote his number on a napkin to get her attention. She called him and they’ve been together ever since. They are the parents of Roman, 20; Faith, 19; Nathan, 13; and Ryan 10. The youngest became a Riley patient when he was diagnosed in December with epilepsy.

“I’m fortunate to be part of the Riley network I’ve bought into the culture because I see it every day in my house through the care for my son,” said Holowka.

Holowka joined IU Health in 2017 as the executive protection manager, providing security for the IU Health executive team, Board of Directors, IU School of Medicine leaders, and personal security for the CEO. In addition, he led a team of officers responsible for the physical security of the Pathology Laboratory, Medical Tower and Fairbanks Hall.

Prior to that he worked for the Indianapolis VA Medical Center as a criminal investigator, captain, lieutenant and lead evidence custodian, responding to the scene of critical evidence. He was also employed as a patrolman in the Town of Plainfield for eight years.

“When I was employed at the VA an executive position opened up and I knew IU Health was growing and I talked to people who were very happy working here. During the interview process I met with impressive people and felt the good vibe. This is the best job I could have,” said Holowka. The IU Health police department includes 50 police officers, and eight police dispatchers – working four shifts.

“We’re a new police agency having transitioned from a security department to being fully certified through the Indiana police agency. We have a few challenges but my objective is to meet those challenges and to show the value of the men and women in uniform and to protect the IU brand.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email