How the Nevada System for Higher Education Consolidated Public Safety and Security

Nevada System for Higher Education’s Adam Garcia describes how he merged the public safety and security departments of four campuses.

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It’s no secret that college public safety department budgets and resources can be tight, even during times of economic prosperity. Campus Safety’s 2018 Salary and Benefits Survey, for example, found that 77% of all survey respondents said they didn’t have enough sworn police/public safety officers, and 73% said they didn’t have enough nonsworn security/public safety officers.

The answer to officer shortages and limited funding — not to mention the needless redundancy of duties – might be the consolidation of security and public safety departments from different institutions of higher education.

Campus Safety Voices, available on Spotify and Apple streaming platforms, features timely conversations on a wide range of topics affecting K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and healthcare facilities.

One institution that embraced this approach was the Nevada System for Higher Education. The system consolidated the police and campus security services departments for four institutions:  the College of Southern Nevada, Desert Research Institute, Nevada State College and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The consolidation efforts were led by Adam Garcia, who is vice president and director of public safety services at the Nevada System for Higher Education. He is also one of this year’s Director of the Year Finalists (he was a finalist in 2020, as well).

Garcia’s move to consolidate the security and public safety departments of four institutions of higher education in southern Nevada has proved to be a resounding success, saving more than $3 million as of September 2020. It has also resulted in other tangible and intangible efficiencies and improvements.

It our interview, Garcia explains why the Nevada System for Higher Education chose to consolidate, how he went about leading that consolidation, and the results of these changes. He also provides helpful tips to other higher education systems contemplating the same move.

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

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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