The Elite 8: CS Director of the Year Finalists Revealed

It’s that time of year again when Campus Safety magazine honors the top police chiefs and security directors of our nation’s hospitals, schools and universities for their achievements and outstanding management of their campuses. Eight law enforcement executives have been named finalists in this hard-fought contest.

Competition is good for the soul — at least that’s what sports enthusiasts believe. The greater the number of people vying for a prize, be it the Heisman trophy or the national basketball championship, the greater the likelihood those involved will be motivated to achieve.

Campus law enforcement officials have the same philosophy, particularly when it comes to this year’s Campus Safety Director of the Year Award program. All of the 2007 entrants suited up and perfectly executed their full-court press in their attempts to grasp the top prize. They were formidable competitors indeed.

Like in 2006, Campus Safety magazine originally intended for the 2007 award to go to one individual, but the quality of entries was just too darn good for only a single person to be designated the winner. Dozens of campus safety and security professionals from around the nation provided compelling cases as to why they or their nominee should be recognized as Director of the Year. As a result, we are again recognizing two award recipients — one for the healthcare segment of CS readership and another for our readers from the education sector.

The finalists’ duties and types of campuses vary dramatically. For example, Ohio Health’s corporate director of protective services is responsible for approximately 2,200 beds in five hospitals; University of South Florida’s police chief oversees a department that must protect more than 60,000 students and four square miles of territory; while smaller, other types of organizations, like Medina General Hospital and Princeton University, are also represented in the top eight.

Despite their differences, however, each of these finalists’ accomplishments are no less impressive.

Winners of the 2007 Campus Safety Director of the Year Awards will be announced at the Campus Safety Conference, which will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif., Feb. 19-20. Information on this conference can be found online at Full coverage of each award recipient will also appear in the next issue of Campus Safety.

But, first things first. In alphabetical order, the finalists for the 2007 Director of the Year Award are…

1) James Bigam, Medina General Hospital

Notable Achievements:

  • Hired off-duty police officers and supplemented his department by adding contract security guards
  • Implemented a training program based on coursework from the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy. Contract security officers now average more than 95 percent on their monthly quizzes
  • Department morale is high; when a recent bomb threat forced the closing of the entire campus, off-duty officers showed up for work even before being called in when they saw the events on T.V.
  • Developed many liaisons with public utilities and local law enforcement
  • Increased staffing and awareness of officers despite having a smaller budget; developed initiatives resulting in cost savings, including the implementation of a computer-based incident reporting system
  • Fostered community awareness of safety and security via safety fairs and cable access programs
  • Adopted bike patrols and the use of stun guns, and upgraded the campus two-way radio system

2) Phillip Caldwell, Community Hospital Anderson

Notable Achievements:

  • In addition to serving as director of security, he is a full-time police officer with the Elwood City Police Department. He is the only full-time security officer in his department
  • Upgraded the O.B. unit’s and pediatric unit’s infant abduction security systems. The HUGS infant protection system works with the hospital’s video security.
  • Installed panic alarm buttons in several areas of the hospital, including all nurse stations. The equipment has reduced security emergencies by 30 percent and has positively affected emergency response times
  • By staffing the emergency department with a security officer from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., the number of calls for assistance to the emergency department decreased by 60 percent
  • Provided first response services for all security-related matters for the on-campus sexual assault treatment center; other upgrades to the shelter include access control, CCTV, patrols and escorts
  • By installing IP security cameras, 38 percent savings will be realized and the campus will be able to install more cameras

3) Wendell Flinchum, Virginia Tech

Notable Achievements:

  • In the 2006-2007 school year, his campus experienced two significant tragedies: 1) On the first day of school in 2006, an escaped prisoner that had killed a hospital security guard fled into the Virginia Tech community and then killed a sheriff’s deputy; and 2) On April 16, 2007 a deranged student shot and killed 32 students and teachers; numerous others were injured
  • During the 2006 incident, a massive manhunt took place. Flinchum was recognized for his communication, cooperation and leadership during the emergency. He received a citation from the Office of the Governor of Virginia.
  • During the 2007 incident, which was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, within 30 minutes of his arrival, his entire department was on recall and half of the Blacksburg Police Department and both tactical teams were on standby. When it was reported that there were shots at Norris Hall an hour later, Flinchum and Chief Kim Crannis, both not wearing vests, were part of the rapid deployment team
  • During the aftermath of the 2007 tragedy, he handled the barrage of media inquiries and intense scrutiny daily with poise and dignity. Additionally, he has spoken at numerous events so that others can learn from his experiences

4) Steven Healy, Princeton University

Notable Achievements:

  • As president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the U.S. House of Representatives regarding campus safety
  • During the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, drafted two pieces of legislation dealing directly with campus public safety, and met with staff from the office of Senator Edward Kennedy regarding the Higher Education Amendments of 2007
  • Relocated his department’s new facility, which incorporated a new communications and command center
  • Ensured department officers received training in conflict mediation, crime prevention, CPTED, crime scene investigations, sexual assault investigations and the incident command system. Three officers received training on the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program.
  • Nearly unanimous participation by officers in his department’s Community Partnership Initiative (community policing). Public safety officers are now assigned as liaisons with more than 25 different student organizations.
  • Advocated for and received several staff additions, including an additional fire marshal and a crime prevention coordinator. Also implemented a new selection process for officers of all ranks.

5) Thomas Longo, University of South Florida

Notable Achievements:

  • Launched an aggressive Traffic Stop Enforcement Education program (known as Operation T-SEE), enabling officers to encounter criminal suspects before they entered the campus. Additionally, the program increased the visibility of the department. As a result, there was an 11 percent reduction in part-one crimes, most notably in burglaries, aggravated assaults and auto theft.
  • To address the problem of drinking and driving by members of the campus community, the department participated in a joint DUI check
    point program (the largest in Hillsborough County in at least 10 years)
  • Crafted and implemented an Adopt-a-Cop program in which residence halls, student organizations and academic departments have a personally assigned police officer to act as a consultant and liaison for police and security matters
  • Secured a $318,000 federal grant to fund four more officers and vehicles
  • Expanded services into the immediate surrounding Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office and Tampa Police Department’s jurisdictions to better serve the 10,000-15,000 students living just off campus who felt alienated

6) Bonnie Michelman, Massachusetts General Hospital

Notable Achievements:

  • Expanded the community policing program to include seven new officers and four new areas among the main campus and health centers. The participating areas have seen a large reduction in calls for patient assistance, false alarms, lost belongings and disturbances.
  • Increased the number of bike patrol officers by 14, which led to a 22 percent decrease in thefts of more than $250, a nine percent decrease in shoplifting and 10 percent decrease in property vandalism
  • Upgraded the communications center to include the installation of two position radio consoles and two large screen CCTV monitors. Primary dispatchers enhanced the quality of service, resulting in a 25 percent decrease of false elevator alarms and 41 percent decrease of false intrusion alarms.
  • The work of the special investigation unit led to a five percent increase in law enforcement assists and 50 percent increase in domestic violence case assists. Workplace violence has decreased by 23 percent.
  • Achieved $71,000 in cost savings by using police and security staff to provide training to 150 employees

7) David Rivero, University of Miami

Notable Achievements:

  • Upon being hired by the university, enhanced the image of his department by redesigning the patrol vehicles, department name and Web page
  • Introduced crime mapping at almost no cost, as well as COMPSTAT. Also introduced patrol scripting, whereby the department studies all of the potential crime and positions officers in high-risk areas. Supervisors plan activities for their officers and assign them a written script.
  • Expanded the crime prevention unit
  • Developed the Canes Resource Officer (CRO) program that now involves five officers who focus their efforts campus wide with students, RAs, organizations and departments. CROs conduct security surveys, develop crime watch organizations, investigate crimes and work on crime prevention.
  • Obtained 10 Segway personal transport vehicles and three electric cars, as well as tripled the bike patrol force so officers can interact more easily with campus constituents
  • Implemented officer and employee of the month and year awards, and doubled the retirement contribution per sworn officer from $600 to $1,200 per month. Step raises and longevity incentives were also introduced. As a result, turnover is now five percent as opposed to 15 percent just two years ago.

8) Charles Smith, OhioHealth

Notable Achievements:

  • Reorganized each individual hospital security function into one corporate department reporting to Smith. He now oversees the entire organization’s security matters.
  • Security officers received training at each of the other campuses to assure they are proficient in the duties of all locations. Now officers can be pulled from campus to campus to cover staffing issues. This reduces overtime and allows for additional staffing in the event of an emergency or special event.
  • Revamped the hiring and interviewing process. Background, driving record and criminal record checks, as well as polygraph and drug tests are conducted. Candidates are subject to an intense 60-90 minute interview, along with an interview with Smith. Additionally, a new, much more formalized promotion process was implemented.
  • Implemented a new risk assessment process so that OhioHealth can benchmark against other healthcare campuses
  • In 2006, 399,242 persons were screened through the ER’s metal detectors; more than 11,000 weapons were turned in or recovered; and there were more than 317,000 dispatch runs

For the 2008 Director of the Year entry form, along with the revised judging criteria, please click here. All entries must be postmarked by Nov. 1.

Robin Hattersley Gray is the executive editor of Campus Safety magazine. She can be reached at

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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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