During the summer, a change of leadership was made in the department of Campus Security & Public Safety (CSPS).
Becky Wilkey has replaced Scott Snider as acting director of CSPS. According to Wilkey, Snider has moved to become the director for campus security at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington, to be closer to home.
Scott Wittel has taken over Wilkey’s old role, becoming the acting associate director of CSPS.
New roles for Wilkey and Wittel within CSPS come with new responsibilities. Wittel has more responsibilities for the day-to-day operations of CSPS, while Wilkey is more oriented toward oversight and policy development around Gonzaga’s campus.
The acting director of CSPS is responsible for security, public safety and emergency preparedness on campus and collaborating with groups in the wider Spokane community.
Wilkey said her new role includes “leading a 25-member security, public safety and emergency preparedness team serving a higher education institution in an urban environment.”
The acting associate director of CSPS is more focused on the GU campus.
“[I] bridge engagement with other departments [around campus],” Wittel said.
Communication between CSPS and other GU departments is important, he said. The acting associate director also “oversees lead officers, makes sure patrol is good to go [and does] de-escalation training for [CSPS] officers.”
Wilkey and Wittel both believe that education is a critical function of CSPS. Learning and adapting to the latest training techniques is paramount to the success of the department.
“Officers are continually training,” Wilkey said.
Staying true to this philosophy, CSPS has recently adopted a policy of behavior-based reporting. According to Wilkey, this new policy helps to remove bias from the reporting equation — you report based on the actions of an individual, not their appearance.
Education doesn’t just stop with the CSPS officers that Wilkey and Wittel oversee. GU students and staff also need to know the safest ways to function on campus and in the larger Spokane area, they said.
One of Wittel’s biggest pieces of advice is simple: “Lock things up.”
Bicycles are hot property for thieves, so making sure they are secure is important. Another way to guarantee the safety of your bike is to register it; without this, it is difficult to ever get your bicycle back if it is stolen. Riders can visit the Bicycle Registration page on the GU website for registration.
Some advice from the acting director of CSPS includes signing up for ZagAlert. This can be done by going to ZagWeb, clicking on ‘Enter Secure Area’ and then clicking on ZagAlert to update your information.
Being informed on campus is an easy way to stay safe, and ZagAlert will keep users up-to-date with emergency situations happening around the GU campus.
Wilkey also said it is important to report cars that look abandoned, as they are sometimes stolen vehicles. Wittel recommends calling even if you’re unsure.
These campus safety tips are a result of the years of experience that both Wittel and Wilkey possess.
Wilkey has a history of law enforcement before becoming a member of the GU community. Working in law enforcement for 17 years gave Wilkey plenty of experience.
During that time, Wilkey worked as a Spokane Public School’s resource officer. This provided her with experience with young people and children.
This history in law enforcement gave Wilkey the tools to succeed in the CSPS department, she said.
Wilkey said the GU mission statement was the main reason joining CSPS “felt right.” The development of both the individual and community convinced her that GU was the place to be. Wilkey has been working in CSPS for seven years.
Wilkey enjoys activities outside of the responsibilities that come with directing the CSPS department. She rides motorcycles, hikes and enjoys spending time outdoors.
Wittel wants to be a positive influence for young people. He started out in law enforcement, spending four years working with the Arizona Highway Patrol. He then made the move to working as a CSPS officer for GU.
According to Wittel, a key reason for the switch was a desire to be proactive, to have a positive influence on young people. GU gave him the perfect opportunity to realize this goal. He has now been with CSPS for 11 years.
Wittel, when teaching classes on safety all around campus, has focused on being a positive influence for GU students and staff. This enthusiasm brought to CSPS is also shown outside of work through some hobbies.
A self described “home body,” Wittel likes to cook and tend to his garden. Motorcycling is a favorite activity when he’s not at home.