A United Force: the Baylor Department of Public Safety
If one thing had to be said about the Baylor University Department of Public Safety (DPS), it would be that this team of safety professionals is absolutely committed to the success and well-being of Baylor students, faculty and staff. Their intense dedication to the protection of the Baylor campus is born out of a deep compassion for the community who claim it.
“I’ve never worked with a group of people who are as committed to the students, faculty and staff and to Baylor. It rivals the Secret Service in their commitment to protect the president. It’s that passionate,” said Mark Childers, associate vice president of public safety & security and former United States Secret Service agent. "These people would lay down their lives for the students, faculty and staff of this University, which is phenomenal.”
Since the hiring of Childers in 2014 to oversee the Baylor DPS, the entities that belong to it–police, fire safety, emergency preparedness, parking and transportation and technical security–have come together in an unprecedented manner. Rather than operating as individual units, they now share a centralized vision and strategy. The newly united DPS places great emphasis on a service-oriented philosophy, and with this servant-leadership mentality in mind, continuously strives to improve practices and procedures.
“Our job is to protect the students, faculty and staff. We serve them. We serve this University,” Childers said. “It’s all or nothing with us. It’s a 24/7 strong forward lean, never comfortable, always pressing to be the best that we can be.”
In the past two years, the DPS has made several new hires to increase the capacity of their department and has implemented many new programs to better serve the campus community. Together, the perspectives and skills brought forward by the leaders within the DPS open the doors for continued progress and improvements.
“With all of the directors and the police chief coming together, each of us bring our respective specialties into one room, and we take those specialties and weave them into a holistic, comprehensive tapestry,” Childers said. “Utilizing everyone’s skills, we can produce a great, strong, sound security platform to serve the community here at Baylor.”
Faculty and staff have an opportunity to unite with the Baylor DPS as well. The DPS is eager to get involved with the campus community, building relationships and establishing trust. Faculty and staff who are hosting a meeting, panel or forum are encouraged to invite members of the DPS to be a part of the conversation, to come and learn about community concerns so they can do something to address them. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to report situations on campus that do not look or feel right.
“If you see something, say something,” Childers said. “I really, really encourage faculty and staff to, no matter what you saw, pick up the phone and dial 2222 and report it. If you’re wrong, we’re going to come over and hug you and say thank you. If you’re right, we’re going to do the same thing.”