What do you think is the biggest threat to campus safety?
I think the issue is that we are near downtown Colorado Springs so I think we are susceptible to those problems we would face anywhere else in the city. I think we work very closely with the Colorado Springs Police Department and the community to mitigate that, but being an urban campus is probably the biggest challenge.
At Vanderbilt your position was as a Captain with the campus police. What was the thing that sticks out in your head from your time there?
I think probably the most interesting thing we had on the campus was a community policing officer, Don Dennis, who worked in the Fraternity area. Just seeing the volume of students that would come up and talk to him on a Thursday or Friday night. We’re talking about dozens of students who would come up and talk to him. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Is your goal to get to know everyone similar to that officer?
Absolutely. Good communication and trust, I think that is absolutely the key. Then what happens is when you get that established, people call you when they think trouble is brewing.
What happened to the former Director of Campus Safety’s marijuana paraphernalia collection? Did he take that with him?
No, we have marked that for destruction.
Are you going to try and start a collection yourself?
No, I think we will put a protocol in effect that establishes a disposition for every item that comes through. After ninety days if it’s due to be incinerated we take it down to the incinerator and it’s disposed of.
CC is obviously much different than Vanderbilt. What do you think when you walk outside and see someone slack lining thirty feet above the ground, someone on a unicycle or any of the other quirky things that make CC what it is?
I haven’t gotten to see much of that yet, I just got here in July. I’ve seen a little bit of the slack lining but it’s only been two or three feet off the ground. I think it’s neat and it’s energizing having the students back… I’m sure the slackening will terrify me when I see it, being afraid of heights.
Do you think you could have handled CC when you were college aged, in terms of the party scene and the academics?
I think CC is more demanding than I was ready for at 18.
If someone vomits in the safe ride van, who cleans that up?
I don’t know how they did that in the past. I don’t know the answer to that and I haven’t run into it yet. I’ll have to look that one up. I know the one who throws up is typically not in any condition to clean it up.
Is there anything you are apprehensive about experiencing at CC?
I think my biggest anxiety is following in Ron Smith’s footsteps. Ron is such an icon here and he had such a way. I think people associate campus safety with him, you mentioned his collection here, and the notices he put out. He had a good way of communicating with the community and I think it’s a challenge to step in and try to figure out how to fill those same needs.
Why doesn’t campus safety carry weapons?
I think it is an assessment of what is best for the campus. We’ve got a great resource here with the CSPD. Our focus is on service, not enforcement and I just think it’s a different orientation.