Search underway for permanent Safety and Security director

by Jacob Strier | 2/6/20 2:10am

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The Department of Safety and Security has been without a permanent director since May 2017.

Source: Staff Photo

The College began a search last November for a permanent director of the Department of Safety and Security, a position that has been held by interim director Keysi Montás for the past three years since the retirement of former director Harry Kinne in May 2017. 

 Vice president for institutional projects Josh Keniston said the search for a new director began following an internal assessment of the department’s needs. He noted that Montás, who had previously served as deputy director of the department, has been vital in his role as interim director over the past few years due to his intimate knowledge of the campus and past experience. 

Keniston said that since Montás’ move to interim director in 2017, his responsibilities as deputy director have been absorbed by other members of the Safety and Security team. 

“We are really fortunate to have Keysi, who had been the deputy director, to step into the interim role,” Keniston said. “Keysi is incredibly capable and part of what we wanted to do was conduct some assessments, and he understands what’s needed for the department.” 

While Keniston declined to offer specifics about why the position was held vacant for nearly three years, he mainly pointed toward Montás’ experience and abilities from his past years with the department which he joined in 2007.

Montás declined to comment for this story. Safety and Security officers were unable to comment as well. 

Keniston said the assessments largely surround an evaluation of Safety and Security’s balance between community engagement and “reactive needs,” or emergency response. Keniston added that across the security industry, there has been a movement to balance the two goals. 

“A lot of people think of Safety and Security as just showing up on the scene when something happens,” Keniston said. “The question of community engagement is, how can Safety and Security also be involved in committees with students and members of the town, or community training and forums?” 

Keniston said this type of engagement can help establish a better relationship between security and the Dartmouth community. 

The College has enlisted the services of search consultant Spelman Johnson to fill the vacant position, according to Keniston. He said the move to use an outside agent is something the College does regularly, and helps create a “national pool” from which to select candidates. So far, the search committee is receiving resumes and vetting candidates, Keniston said. 

According to a posting for the position on the Spelman Johnson website, “The Director leads an unarmed, non-sworn team of approximately 30 security and dispatch professionals, and manages and administers safety and security programs, physical facility security, compliance, training, emergency preparedness, and critical incident response for the College.”

The search committee is casting a wide net for individuals with a wide range of backgrounds, Keniston said. 

“We are open to individuals which maybe don’t have experience specifically in a college like Dartmouth but have deployed programs similar to the objectives I stated earlier,” Keniston said. “Folks with a background at other institutions are certainly part of the mix.” 

The online posting says attractive candidates would “bring an understanding of the residential campus, replete with a strong Greek culture, to the role.” 

The posting further notes the position requires a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, emergency management or a related field, and specifies that 15 years of relevant experience and an advanced degree is preferred. It also notes the new director will report to executive vice president for finance and administration Rick Mills. 

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence said in an email that the College hopes to make an offer to a candidate in the spring.