Staff Profile: Gary Bean, Campus Safety

 

 

Nancy Ng

No presence at Colgate is more pervasive than that of Campus Safety. Being most physically visible in the marked vehicles that patrol our campus and the blue lights that dot our collegiate landscape, their multi-faceted responsibilities have subtly integrated them into all aspects of campus life. Conducting fire drills, being available as first-response to fires on campus, providing medical transportation for the disabled, managing parking, keeping the storage facilities, maintaining order and security at athletic events, unlocking doors and educating students about safety, as seen in the University’s first-year orientation program Colgate 101, is just a short list that falls under the jurisdiction of this department within the Dean of the College division. The man responsible for overseeing this 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year operation is Director of Campus Safety Gary Bean. Hailing from Knoxboro, N.Y., and receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in criminal justice at SUNY College of Technology in Utica in 1977, Bean remembers working summers at the Seven Oaks Golf Course as a student. Fresh out of college with idealistic expectations, Bean recalls being disillusioned by his brief stint within the department and his departure to participate in other private security ventures. The role of Campus Safety has since evolved. Working for the department now requires officers to be a jack-of-all-trades of sorts, which Bean has articulated to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job. “Every day is different.” Bean said. “That’s probably one of the nice things about working in this role – it keeps it exciting.” Bean stresses the importance of people-skills in officers, whose jobs he describes as “very student-engaged, [as] every issue they have to deal with involves a student.” He mentions the Adopt-A-Hall program already firmly established in first-year residence halls that encourage student-officer interactions beyond the usual context of law enforcement. Through the program, officers may take their adopted halls “Christmas shopping, paintballing, fly fishing or whatever they can dream or imagine they want to do.” Since 1980, Bean has been a permanent member of the Campus Safety team and has paid his dues as a patrol officer, investigator, assistant and then Associate Director before heading the department as Director beginning in 1997. He currently serves on the Board of Directors in the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association (NECUSA), is an active member in the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and an instructor at the regional police academy. “I have reached a point in my career where I am deeply committed to the education of the next generation of law enforcers in Central New York,” Bean said. One of Bean’s major roles is acting as a “liaison” between the village of Hamilton and the University, most directly through his collaboration with the local police department as Director but also in governance through his residence in the village. “Colgate is a leading educational institution largely because of the community as a whole,” he said. “We expect everyone to be engaged. Colgate is a challenging place for everyone, students and faculty alike. That’s what makes it rewarding. I have the seen the best and the brightest come in to Colgate and are still challenged for the next four years.” It is Bean’s hope that these students will in turn help create new senses of community wherever they end up. He wants safety to not necessarily be a constant worry at the forefront of every person’s mind but hopes it “is always a conscious thought.” “We take great pride in making sure that this is a safe community,” he said. “When I say we, I’m saying all the diligent staff of this department.” Bean stresses that he cannot take credit for all the hard work of his officers and dispatchers. For, it is they who actively maintain this protective web of security around the “Colgate bubble” through their dedication and commitment above and beyond what the job requires and deserve a plethora of “accolades.”