RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the vice president for finance and administration, the chief of police and director of public safety (chief) is responsible for directing and overseeing the public safety department and providing a safe and secure environment for the university community. The chief provides a community-oriented policing environment and plans, directs, and evaluates all aspects of the integrated police and security operations while ensuring the enforcement of all local, state, and federal laws as well as relevant university policies and procedures. The chief is responsible for managing the campus emergency operations plan to ensure the campus is prepared for various scenarios that may negatively impact overall campus safety and/or business continuity. It is imperative that the chief work collaboratively with all local law enforcement agencies. The chief oversees a departmental budget of just under $2 million and provides leadership to 27 full-time staff.
Duties, as outlined in the job description, include the following:
- Directs various personnel functions including, but not limited to, hiring, salary recommendations, promotions, transfers, shift scheduling, and vacation schedules.
- Develops, monitors, and manages the operating budget for the department.
- Directs and participates as needed with criminal investigations, crime prevention, community relations, special events, and security functions.
- Ensures that all members of the department receive regular training in order to maintain appropriate certifications and remain knowledgeable of current trends, techniques, and practices within the profession.
- Establishes and maintains good, effective working relationships with university officials, local outside law enforcement agencies (i.e. Milledgeville police and fire departments, Baldwin County sheriff’s office, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Georgia Military College police department), local emergency management officials, and other community organizations.
- Oversees the development and delivery of safety education for campus constituents, residential life staff, and others. Using a community policing framework, works proactively and cooperatively with students and with all other internal and external constituents. Supports the mission of the university by contributing to the programs and services offered by student life.
- Works closely with the Title IX and student compliance coordinator to ensure the campus remains compliant with state, federal, and other regulations, including but not limited to the Clery Act.
- Plans, organizes, directs, and evaluates all activities of the public safety enterprise, ensuring compliance with all laws and local ordinances as well as adherence to university policies and procedures; remains abreast of safety/security and legal issues impacting higher education and develops systems, tools, programs, and procedures to meet changing physical, legal, and personnel conditions at the university. Responsible for the university’s compliance with the Clery Act.
- On an ongoing basis develops, implements, and monitors the effectiveness of campus safety policies and procedures, as well as the campus emergency operations plan. Prepares and submits operational reports on an annual basis.
- Provides administrative and operational guidance and professional leadership, organization, and oversight for a 24-hour/365-days-a-year department of armed staff, including dispatch function, dispatch staff, and the emergency preparedness unit.
- Supervises directly, or through subordinate supervisors, a staff of law enforcement, dispatchers, and clerical personnel.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE
The successful candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, public or business administration, or a related field and at least ten years of progressively responsible management experience in law enforcement, which includes five years of supervisory/management experience and five years of emergency management experience. Must possess or be able to acquire and maintain Georgia P.O.S.T. certification as a peace officer within one year of employment. Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree, law enforcement experience in a higher education environment, and advanced management-level training through the FBI National Academy or the Southern Police Institute. Familiarity with federal and state laws applicable to campus public safety including, but not limited to, FERPA, The Clery Act, and Title IX laws and regulations, is also preferred.
In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:
- Exceptional communication skills
- Strategic thinker
- Strong listening skills
- Bridge builder
- Community builder
- Partner with internal and external stakeholders
- Influential leader
- Excellent project management skills
- Calming presence
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
This position has been vacant since February 2023. The former chief served in this role for over three years. Nikki Renfroe, formerly with Georgia state patrol and the office of planning and research, is serving as interim until the new chief/director is named.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The new chief will primarily lead, manage, and evaluate all campus safety personnel, programs, and services. The chief will effectively lead crises, conflicts, and other campus safety challenges. The new chief should possess strong abilities and expertise in law enforcement and best practices within the context of a public university. Specific opportunities, priorities, and challenges include:
Leadership: The chief will be expected to lead the current unit while determining needed refinements and adjustments to maintain current best practices and standards for compliance and service. They will be expected to design, implement, and provide forward-thinking policies and processes for the institution on campus safety and community policing.
Staff Development, Recruitment, and Retention: The chief will work on recruiting to fill existing vacancies within the staff. The chief should create a professional development plan to increase training and assist with staff morale. They must be collaborative and capable of harnessing and directing a team that works seamlessly with each other as well as others throughout the institution and surrounding city.
Trust: The chief must work with students, staff, and faculty to foster relationships built on trust and mutual respect.
Policing Concerns: Police practices are under a microscope across the country. Officers should be visible, accessible, and engaged with the student body, consistently networking with the faculty and administration, interactively involving the campus in safety and security endeavors, and generally positively representing the department as an active community member. The chief should use national best practices, innovative new trends, and professional networks to promote a kind and compassionate policing philosophy.
Diverse Populations: A demonstrated commitment to and knowledge of how to serve widely diverse groups and individuals in a university environment is essential to this position. Promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion goals for the department and the campus is integral to upholding the values and mission of the institution.
Mental Health: Experience with mental health is a priority for this position as public health and safety concerns continue to increase for college campuses. It will be important that the incoming chief has a background with initiatives to address this area of concern.
Balance: The chief will continue to prioritize accountability and forge a balance between law enforcement and supporting the university’s mission through a strong partnership with the conduct office.
Partnerships with External Agencies: The police department collaborates with local, state, and federal law enforcement, fire safety, and EMS. It remains essential for the chief to forge a strong working relationship and positive partnerships with these entities. As a state agency, the chief must also be keenly aware and familiar with applicable state statutes, processes, and timelines that apply to state personnel.
Location: Milledgeville is a vibrant college town. While not an urban community, Milledgeville offers opportunities unique to the region, along with affordable housing, a strong K-12 system, and access to numerous resources and events all within a reasonable distance.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The items listed below will define the chief’s success throughout the first year of employment:
- The chief will have maintained a proactive, visible, well-respected, and established leadership presence on campus, and this leadership presence will have been credible, collegial, collaborative, and positively received.
- Strong relationships, partnerships, and trust will have been established across a wide array of campus and external stakeholders.
- The chief will have analyzed, contributed to, and defined plans and goals that are best practices for the department and campus moving forward.
- The staff reporting to the chief will feel supported and valued and be defined as a strong, high-functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team working with synergy and shared service provision.
- The chief will have assessed the impact of programs and services and utilized data-driven decisions to improve processes and operations.
- The chief will have forged effective partnerships with local law enforcement and related community agencies.
OVERVIEW OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The mission of GCSU Public Safety is to protect, serve and educate. We accomplish this through the delivery of comprehensive and integrated safety, security and emergency preparedness programs in partnership with the community we serve.
Georgia College & State University (GCSU) is the state’s designated public liberal arts university. Georgia College is committed to fostering a liberal arts environment that values academic preeminence, interdisciplinary inquiry, and an inclusive learning community. GCSU is one of three selective-admission institutions in the University System of Georgia and enrolls approximately 7,000 students—5,800 undergraduate and 1,200 graduate students—and is prominently cited for excellence in teaching, innovation, undergraduate research, nursing education, and other high-impact practices. The university’s beautiful and historic campus is located downtown in Milledgeville, Georgia, a charming, diverse college town of approximately 19,000 residents in Central Georgia, approximately 90 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Georgia College & State University recognizes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the core values of reason, respect, and responsibility. Georgia College strives to achieve diversity excellence in the composition of the community, educational programs, university policies, research and scholarship, campus life, employment practices, extracurricular activities, and community outreach. They also believe that a welcoming and inclusive environment is critical to attaining the kind of campus climate that allows members of the community to succeed in their endeavors, to be respected as individuals, and to feel a sense of belonging at Georgia College, and support educational programs designed to achieve this kind of inclusive excellence. Georgia College’s overarching goal is to achieve preeminence as a model for excellence in diversity and inclusion for the state, region, and nation.
The Student Body (Fall 2022 data)
Total enrollment: 6,315
American Indian or Alaskan Native: <1%
Black or African American: 7%
Hispanic or Latino: 6%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: <1%
Two or more races: 3%
Cathy Cox, President
Cathy Cox became Georgia College & State University’s 12th president on October 1st, 2021. Prior to joining Georgia College, Cox served as dean for Mercer University School of Law from 2017 – 2021 and served as president of Young Harris College for a decade prior to that. A native of Bainbridge, Georgia, Cox’s distinguished career in law, education, politics, and journalism embodies what it means to have a “liberal arts” background.
Having first pursued an interest in cultivating plants, Cox earned her associate’s degree at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, before turning her attention to journalism at the University of Georgia, where she graduated summa cum laude. Writing for The Times of Gainesville and The Post-Searchlight of Bainbridge, Cox would cover local area crime and the courts, inspiring her to pursue a degree in law. She served as editor-in-chief for the Mercer Law Review before graduating magna cum laude from Mercer Law School. Cox practiced law in her hometown of Bainbridge and in Atlanta for ten years, during which time she was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. She subsequently broke new ground in her election as Georgia’s Secretary of State, becoming the first woman in Georgia’s history to serve in this Constitutional office.
Lee Fruitticher, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Lee Fruitticher has over 27 years of progressive experience with the State of Georgia in the higher education and government sectors. This experience includes high-level strategic, fiscal and capital planning at the institutional level within the University System of Georgia. His functional areas of expertise include budgeting, accounting & reporting, internal/external audit and auxiliary services.
Prior to joining Georgia College & State University, Mr. Fruitticher served as the Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for Augusta University and Gordon State College. He has also worked at Middle Georgia State University in a variety of senior roles in business services, budgeting and auxiliary services. Earlier in his career, Mr. Fruitticher also worked as an auditor with the Georgia Department of Audits in Augusta and the Board of Regents in Atlanta.
Georgia College provides a variety of benefits that can be found here.
Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Laura Puckett-Boler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email email@example.com. Georgia is a state that does not require public salary disclosure. For salary information, please get in touch with Laura Puckett-Boler.
Visit the Georgia College & State University website at www.gcsu.edu
Visit the Public Safety Department here: https://www.gcsu.edu/publicsafety
Georgia College & State University is committed to the fundamental principle of equal opportunity and equal treatment for every prospective and current employee. No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex (sexual orientation or gender identity), religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information, be excluded from employment or participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination, under any program or activity conducted by GCSU.
GCSU is a national award-winning institution in areas of student success and achievement. It strives to achieve excellence in the diverse composition of its community, educational programs, university policies, research and scholarship, campus life, employment practices, extracurricular activities, and community outreach. The university makes a welcoming and inclusive environment a priority so that its campus climate will enhance the ability of its community members to succeed in their endeavors, to be respected as individuals, and to feel a sense of belonging at Georgia College. See https://www.gcsu.edu/legalaffairs/non-discrimination for more information.