After six months without a director of Public Safety, the
college has hired a consultant to evaluate the department and
reinvent the director position.
The consultant, Dan Brown, will serve as Acting Director and
will be the third person in charge of the Public Safety department
since Steven King resigned in April. Brown recently headed the
Public Safety department at Genentech, a biotech research and
information company, and used to teach at UC Berkeley.
Dennis Bernardo, the former Public Safety Supervisor, filled the
interim director position for a short period after King resigned.
Bernardo recently resigned and Darnita White, a public safety
officer, partially served as interim director.
Elizabeth Burwell, the Vice President and Treasurer of the
College, who oversees the Public Safety department, took over
responsibility of assessing risk management campus wide, the van
service, and parking permits after Bernardo resigned. Brown now has
Burwell said she’d like to put together a committee to help
Brown revamp the department and hopes to have the director position
filled by the first of next year.
Burwell said she hopes to have Brown’s reports in about two
months and “then he’ll make some recommendations.” Many students
say they are alarmed by the lack of Public Safety officers on
campus and some have noted that the front gate has been un-staffed
frequently throughout the last few weeks.
“I’ve come through the front gate at least four times in the
last week with no one at the front gate” said senior Keeshia
Marcus Hayes, graduate student and an RA at Mills, said he drove
through the gate a number of times when it was unattended.
“If I had an actual emergency I would call the police before I
would call Public Safety,” said Hayes.
Some wonder if the rash of thefts on campus and recent car
break-ins might be connected to a lack of Public Safety
“My friends car was broken into up at Ethel and the lack of
presence of Public Safety aided that,” said senior Sara Howard.
“We have had a series of thefts,” said Burwell. “A few thefts
out of rooms in the residence halls.”
“I feel that the department is slipping through the cracks,”
said graduate student Laurel Benjamin. “I don’t see any Public
Safety officers on campus.”
“With the turnover of the leadership in the department, I want
to reestablish the communication,” said Brown.
In response to the front gate being unattended, Burwell said,
“It seems to me there was one shift on the weekend that was covered
but not fully staffed.”
According to Brown the minimum number of officers on duty should
be three. One officer to stay at the front gate, one to patrol on
campus, and one for escorting students.
According to Burwell, one of Brown’s first assignments is to
find employees who are qualified to cover the front gate shift.
Karen Maggio, Assistant Vice President for Business Affairs,
said that the Public Safety department is busy hiring new
A new officer started Tuesday, Sept. 28 and four more started
Monday Oct. 4, according to Jazmani Cortez, a Public Safety
Throughout the transitions in the department, the officers
“[I think that] the department is looking up,” said Cortez.