With the beginning of the new school year, students were introduced to the new director of campus safety, Jim Hamrick. Hamrick was hired to fill the spot vacated by Mike Webster upon his retirement the previous year. We at the Free Press sat down with Hamrick to discuss with him the path that led him to McDaniel, as well as what he believes to be the road going forward for McDaniel Campus Safety.
Hamrick began his policing career as during his undergraduate years at the University of Maryland, working as an auxiliary police aide on campus. He left College Park as an assistant chief in 2010, and then became Director of Support Services at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission. He then applied for the position at McDaniel, and thus ended up as the new director.
In regards to the jump from College Park to a smaller campus, Hamrick noted that in a setting such as McDaniel, “the working relationships are much more intimate, much more personal, which really fits my management style.” He mentioned that during his short time on campus he has noted the inter-office connectivity on campus, as well as the interactions with students on a more personal level.
“For me, it’s been very personally and professionally rewarding,” he stated.
He also spoke to the interactions between Westminster Police and Campus Safety. “That level of collaboration will only continue to grow and increase,” he said, “Westminster police will always have a role in providing mutual aid assistance to us.” He mentioned that partner patrols would be continuing on campus for the near future.
Hamrick also detailed his plans for the continued evolution of Campus Safety, most importantly noting that he is working to have all Campus Safety officers sworn as special police. This would increase the powers of the officers on and potentially off campus, but would also require they go through the same certification and training as standard duty police.
Given the number of high profile incidents on campus in the past few years, Hamrick stated that the number-one goal to prevent such incidents is planning.
“That starts with our own community, in better educating faculty, staff and students in the things that they can do to ensure their safety,” he said, citing the See Something, Say Something campaign as an example.
Furthermore, he said that “the other part would be the planning, having a good emergency operations plan that would approach an emergency or critical incident from an ‘all hazards,’ approach.”
Hamrick confirmed that Campus Safety would be relocating to the former dentist’s office at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Monroe Street, with the campus currently moving to renovate and set up the space. Early, rough estimates for move-in are around January of next year, though he was quick to note that these are tentative.
Speaking to the new and old students, Hamrick stated, “we are here, not to just ‘squash their fun,’ but we’re here to be a service to them, to be a resource to them. We don’t want to be seen in an adversarial way.”