The first of a series on life in the offices and departments of UD.
Not only can Charlie Steadman, director of Campus Safety (CSO), have an officer to any point on campus in a minute or less, but each of those officers is trained in CPR, defibrillation and first aid, while many have additional qualifications like interview training. Steadman, for example, has been trained to respond to bomb threats and is certified in Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination statute pertaining to education. Senior CSO Officer Tod Walker is a Red Cross first aid trainer.
Campus Safety's most important function is without doubt acting as first responders during emergencies. To be prepared, the 10-man staff has two or three officers on duty 24 hours a day—always with one on dispatch in Haggar University Center and one patrolling in the squad car.
"In the last 10 years, I can think of six people who would probably not be alive if we hadn't been able to respond quickly enough—heart attack, stroke and that kind of thing," said Steadman. "That's really why we're here."
CSO's first response duties don't stop with first aid, however. According to Steadman, the average police response time to a call in Irving is 22 minutes. The fire department responds in 17 minutes.
"It takes only seven minutes for them to arrive at UD," said Steadman. "That's because, first of all, we're in communication with the Irving Police Department and they trust our evaluation of a situation. Second, we have an officer on patrol in a car at all times, who can escort them to the scene."
On average, however, it's through the 10-12 hourly customer service requests—assisting
locked out students and jump-starting stalled cars—that CSO leaves their mark on daily
life for students, faculty and staff.
"My officers are thanked around 100 times a day," said Steadman. "We take the customer service part of our jobs very seriously. It gets you out, meeting people and seeing what's going on."
After 17 years on the job many would be jaded, but not Steadman.
"Our students are so honest," he said. "I've had them bring in hundreds of dollars to lost and found, and I've had them bring in five-dollar bills. One semester, the same student's laptop was returned unharmed seven times."
The full CSO team includes Steadman, Senior Safety Officers Dave Lemire, Carlos Tijerina and Walker, and Safety Officers Cris Ashenhart, Eugene Curtsinger III, Lance Harris, David Hong, Jeff Parmley and Andrew Smith, and a team of trained student workers who staff the dispatch desk during business hours.
Photo from left: Lemire and student worker Stephanie Thomas, who has worked in CSO for almost three years.