After several months of interviews, phone calls and committee meetings, Gerald Whittington, vice president of Business, Finance and Technology and head of the search committee for a new director of campus safety and police, must pick a candidate for the director position. Whittington said he intends to meet with the search committee a final time and will decide on a new director in the next week.
“(When) you get to this point, you don’t want folks to just sit and sit and sit,” Whittington said. “In some searches, people are in multiple searches, so your candidate might be in another search for another position somewhere else, and you don’t want to lose because you were slow to decide, but you don’t want to rush into it.”
Each of the three candidates came to Elon’s campus last week and spent a day meeting with various campus groups including senior administrators, the Student Life staff and community members. The candidates each gave a presentation on what they see as the role of campus safety and police in the Elon Commitment, according to Whittington.
Dennis Franks, deputy chief of police of the Pekin Police Department in Pekin, Ill., was the first of the candidates to present. Franks, who spoke Feb. 21, said his strengths lie in his ability to develop relationships and communicate with a wide variety of people. He talked about his five-point plan to pursue service excellence, which includes treating others with respect, ensuring a safe campus through crime prevention, hiring officers who have a desire to serve, providing employees with goals and opportunities for their careers and supporting the inner workings of campus police.
“I feel that those five points kind of (exhibit) what I think can be done to foster culture and service excellence,” Franks said.
[quote] Mr. Gantos has set a wonderful tone for the kind of climate we want for the person who will assume his position. The candidates offer new perspectives and have different experiences. They will add to the foundation that Mr. Gantos has laid. -Smith Jackson, vice president and dean of Student Life [/quote]
Todd Sigler, director of the department of public safety for Southern Illinois University — Carbondale, spoke Feb. 22 about his determination to focus on partnering with and providing support for students. He said his greatest strength is identifying people he can bring together as a team and communicating well with them.
“There is a ripple effect with our words and deeds,” Sigler said. “As (a) campus safety and police (unit), we must ask ourselves, ‘Are our words followed up by our deeds?’ What we say is what we should do and what we do is what we should say. If we don’t follow up those things with our actions, people aren’t going to have a lot of confidence in us after a while.”
Elon’s campus police investigator Dan Ingle was the third candidate to speak. He spoke Feb. 24 about his goals for campus police in the university’s strategic plan. He addressed several areas he would focus on as director of campus safety and police, including commitment to diversity and global engagement, support of campus police staff, delivery on Elon’s promise and support of a strong alumni network. He said his greatest strengths are that he is a successful problem solver.
“I begin to address a problem immediately,” Ingle said. “I do not let it sit there and fester.”
The committee, which includes Smith Jackson, vice president and dean of Student Life, among other faculty and staff members, reviewed more than 100 applications from candidates, conducted phone interviews with about 20 and met seven for in-person interviews before selecting the three candidates to bring to campus, according to Jackson.
Jackson said he is excited about the opportunities that having a new director of campus safety and security will give the university.
“Mr. Gantos has set a wonderful tone for the kind of climate we want for the person who will assume his position,” Jackson said. “The candidates offer new perspectives and have different experiences. They will add to the foundation that Mr. Gantos has laid.”