Story by Nathan Erickson
Photo Courtesy Drake Marketing and Communications
Scott Law is the new director of campus security services. He has been here for almost two months, meeting many members of the campus community. Law has spent the last 25 years working in security and law enforcement, 14 of those as the lead inspector at the University of New York-Stonybrook.
You’ve been at Drake two months. Could you describe your Drake experience so far?
It has been a very positive experience. I have found that the student body is very engaging, interested not only in their studies but also in the other aspects of campus. Improving the campus life overall is important to many people. I’ve had some great interactions with student government. I think I was here about a week, and one of the senators approached me about doing a campaign toward the student body on safety initiatives. I’ve gone out to speak at some programs in the residence halls, and I hope to continue those moving forward. I would like to get more of my staff involved in doing some of those things.
As Campus Security Director, what are your main responsibilities?
My main responsibilities are engaging the community in ways to get them involved in the security process, as well as looking at what trends are occurring nationally and at Drake. There are incidents occurring nationally that [Drake] may not be seeing yet, but may be something that we can plan ahead for and have a good chance of preventing in the future. I also need to look, along with Assistant Director Tricia McKinney and other folks in the department, on what we are seeing happen on a daily basis. We look at what we can do to address those issues and prevent them from occurring in the future.
What is a current national issue that is receiving attention here at Drake?
The biggest trend that everyone talks about right now is the active-shooter issue. The question moves to how we can prevent that from occurring here at Drake. I was pleased upon my arrival to find that Drake is already using the “Run, Hide, Fight” video. It is probably one of the better [training resources] available. My goal is to push that training out to community members and really get them engaged. While the chance of an active-shooter incident is relatively low, you never want to be the campus that it occurs on. So, we prepare for those things. It’s a big concern that faculty and staff have, so we are really working to make sure that everyone is up to speed and engaged in the conversation.
What are some of your long-term goals for Drake Campus Security?
I think Drake is a top-notch institution. From what I’ve seen, we have some top notch programs. A goal of ours is to be one of the better security divisions in the country. We want to be looked at by other departments and institutions, as well as the Drake community, as a department that is excellent in everything we do. We were doing a lot of great things before my arrival, but I see tremendous opportunities for us to tweak some things and become even better.
Working with our students is another very important goal. Our students want to know what’s going on. They want to know what we’re doing when problems occur, but also what we’re doing on a daily basis to make this campus more secure for them. We need to make sure that we are providing a variety of programs for students and gaining their feedback. We need to ask ourselves, “Are we providing the right information for you?”
Finally, we will introduce some new technologies. There are a lot of good technologies out there for use, starting with adding to our camera infrastructure. The parking-management system is another issue, as well as the Rave Guardian system for student protection. We really need to look at how we can utilize that technology and place it in students’ hands.
Do you think that the campus security department has room for improvement (in communication)?
I’d like to reiterate that there was a great foundation in place before my arrival. However, communication has historically not been a strength of our department and nationally is not a strength. The top security programs do provide adequate information, and I think that there are more things we can do for our students. The trick is letting them know that we are doing it, and we are working to meet their needs.
What other services does Campus Security offer that may not be as obvious to the campus community?
One of the big things is to be a visible deterrent. Being a visible deterrent by having officers walk the campus and be visible helps our students feel safer and deters criminal activity. This is a major function of our officers’ daily job.
Another service is the opportunity to do escorts. We want students to walk in groups because it’s safer for them. However, we recognize that cannot always happen. We want to provide that escort or be walking nearby so that that person can feel safe walking to their car or destination.