Effective since April 15, Stan Skipworth — the previous Interim Head of Security Director for the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) — has assumed his tenure as permanent director. Last Friday morning, I had the chance to sit down with Skipworth and discuss some of his plans, hopes and views regarding the Campus Safety Department.
With regards to what the department has been doing well, Skipworth stated, “I think that the department has been particularly responsive to recent changes in request for services in how we’re being asked to patrol certain areas as well as work with different partners in all the different colleges. Specifically, I think we’ve effectively monitored all of the different offices, facilities, and general campuses, especially during special events and things like that. Additionally, I believe we’ve done a really good job of working with our partners to make sure to understand what the service needs, as well as what the requests are, and in turn, accurately deliver them.”
In terms of improvement, Skipworth pointed to increased community engagement as a goal to look forward to, saying that, “On a longer term basis, I want the department to become more fully engaged with the institution and would like everyone at Campus Safety more accessible and available to things going on.”
One of the steps he has taken in order to achieve this has been spearheading new programs, including the Campus Oriented Policing Program. Through this plan of action, “we [the department] will designate teams of officers to each distinct campus who are then responsible for serving their particular campuses, and working as liaisons to address the particular relevant service needs that may arise,” he said. He added that through this, these “campus leaders” would be able to provide an extra perspective and serve as facilitators for issues that might arise.
Another goal that Skipworth has is to increase the department’s involvement with on-campus media sources throughout the five campuses. He wants the department to be viewed as a “trusted source on campus that provides accurate information.” He hopes to be an “effective partner to the colleges” and be a “strong support system” to the community, adding that he wants to “manage the finite resources available and use them in the best and most effective ways.”
Skipworth stated that currently, the most pressing issue the department is facing is understaffing. Although the problem has improved — he mentioned that when he first arrived in the fall, the department was significantly more understaffed — Skipworth says he wants to focus on “being fully staffed and having a complete set of personnel,” and says that the department is currently “recruiting very heavily in order to get the positions filled.” He additionally noted that he wants to implement additional training in order to widen the skill set of employees.
One of the initiatives that Skipworth is very excited about is the launching of CUC’s LiveSafe App for smartphones. This app, which is designed to improve communication between the Claremont community and Campus Safety, allows for faster emergency response in distress situations and provides access to the latest safety information. It lets users send their location to Campus Safety in an emergency, report suspicious activity anonymously to Campus Safety, and invite friends or family to monitor their location as they walk home.
Skipworth added that “the app itself is really very cool and provides a lot of information, allowing us to easily interact with people; it’ll allow people to send us audio and video files, explaining to us what they’re seeing and show us exactly what’s going on, whether it be a hazardous condition, or if someone’s not feeling good, or if someone smells smoke, etc.” He explained that the department will be able to more efficiently provide assistance as the department will have “a dashboard that our dispatchers will monitor, so when a message comes in, we’ll immediately respond with a call or a text to get in touch with that person and provide the necessary assistance.”
Concerning his own administrative role, Skipworth stated that “leadership is something I’m very interested in and I believe that it is important and applicable in every realm.” He points to his tenure as Mayor of Corona, California as a very valuable and impactful experience, stating that “I had the opportunity to work with a wide range of constituents, a large number of interest groups, neighborhoods, groups of faith, local businesses, the school system, recreational groups, etc., and engaging with all of these different elements and aspects gave me a broader perspective and greater understanding of how to go about working effectively with diverse groups, both groups with common goals as well as ones with diverse objectives to achieve those goals and understanding why they have different preferences.”
He believes that the experience and skillset he gained from his tenure “also serve very useful to an institution like this where you have different colleges as part of an ensemble that are all trying to achieve similar missions, but from time to time, may have different preferences and subtle priorities that take the lead.” He added that through his role as mayor, he “understands a little bit better how I can personally use my knowledge and work with the groups of resources to help the colleges achieve those individual and distinct preferences.”
When I asked Skipworth if there was anything else he wanted to add, he said, “I’m really excited about being part of this great institution and being a partner to the colleges and interacting with members of the Claremont Community.” On a personal note, he also stated that he is a huge Beatles fan and loves to travel, having visited forty of the fifty states.