Spotlight on Campus Safety Hero Officer Robert Derek Dean

Highline College DPS Officer Dean works with students, other officers and campus staff as an information resource and ambassador of goodwill.

Being involved in college campus public safety not only requires officers to effectively respond to emergencies, they must also be dedicated to customer service and developing interpersonal partnerships with students and staff. Officers who address all of these facets of campus security not only make their organization safer and more secure, they also do much to further their institution’s mission.

Officer Robert Derek Dean, who is a 20-year-veteran of the Highline College Department of Public Safety, is just such a campus protection professional, and that is why CS has named him this week’s Campus Safety Hero.

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Highline College DPS Sgt. George Curtis, who nominated Dean, has been immensely impressed with Dean’s positive attitude, professionalism and earnest desire to make a lasting impact on the lives of Highline students and his fellow employees. 

“Derek does not limit himself to assisting students with strictly Public Safety issues such as parking permits or reporting incidents,” says Curtis. “Through years of effort on his part, he has become a source of detailed knowledge about many of Highline’s processes and procedures. As a result, he can just as easily explain the process for obtaining a parking permit as he can explain where to go for placement testing or the steps needed to register for a class.”

Dean also works cooperatively with other employees on campus, both within DPS and with other departments. He takes the time to listen to issues, offer advice and work collaboratively with others on solutions to problems. He serves as a liaison for other campus departments like Facilities and the Early Learning Center and is a “go to” person for addressing issues… efforts that are greatly appreciated by many campus employees. Also, he enthusiastically mentors new officers in the department, giving them the benefit of his many years of experience, and expresses a true desire for them to grow and succeed in their careers.

But it’s not all about business for Dean. He also takes a personal interest in students’ lives.

“Many times while walking through the campus I will see him engage someone in conversation and ask them not only how they are doing with their classes, but talk to them on a personal level that shows the true depth of his concern for and commitment to their success,” says Curtis. “Whether it is a lighthearted joke to brighten up their day or a few kind words of encouragement over some struggle they are facing, he brings an honest and human touch to the lives of everyone he meets.

“I have been continually impressed by Derek and his honest and heartfelt desire to make Highline College a truly excellent campus,” Curtis adds. “I have seen firsthand how impressed people are by his genuine concern for their success, how much he values their accomplishments and how much he values his ability to help them achieve their educational goals. He is an ambassador of good will and positive energy to the people who work and learn at Highline.”

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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