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John DeAngelis

Head of Security

John DeAngelis' warm smile and soft-spoken demeanor belie his more than 30 years of experience in public safety-'"a career that, as he tells it, came about "by accident."

"I was Assistant Director of Facilities at Adelphi University, working closely with the security director," TC's new Chief of Campus Safety and Security said recently. "The position opened up and they offered me the job." 

Since that time, DeAngelis has done security work on both coasts and in university settings and municipal and community law enforcement. He also put in a stint as the Vice President of a real estate title company. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy for Law Enforcement Managers. -' Inside met with him recently to discuss how he sees his new role.

What do you hope to bring to Teachers College security?

I will be undertaking an assessment for about the first 30 to 90 days to determine what we currently do now to establish what the strengths and weaknesses are. I would like to do some one-on-ones with members of the community to hear what their needs and expectations are before I think about making any changes. 

Based on your long career in public safety and security, what are the priorities you have going forward in defining the role of TC's campus security?

I have three priorities-'"professionalism, customer service and community interaction. To be successful and to meet our mission, that is what we need to focus on. Professionalism refers to training and standards. I would like to see us have the best trained university safety and security office in the city to deal with everything from general day-to-day operations and customer service to crime prevention and emergency operations, particularly in a post-9/11 atmosphere.

Customer service refers to what we can do to help the community to provide a safe and secure environment. When a resident comes home at the end of the day, we are the first face that they see.  Our whole orientation should be service.

Community interaction means getting to know people and being part of the community. We should not be an enforcement agency, but a service organization that works in support of the College.

What about crime prevention?

Crime in New York City has come down over the last 10 to 15 years, and compared to other metropolitan areas it is lower. Yet, things are going to happen. The best thing we can do to help people is to educate them about what is happening in the community and what to be aware of in terms of personal safety-'"how to travel in the evening, for example. One thing I will be doing in my assessment is evaluating the level and means of communicating crime prevention information and trends in the community. 

You mentioned emergency preparedness. What kind of emergency plan do you hope to put into place?

As part of my evaluation, I am looking at what emergency operation plans we have and where we need to go to shore them up. There are three things to think about when dealing with emergency situations: planning for an emergency, operations during the emergency and business continuity. We are probably strongest in the post-emergency planning. 

We recently completed training with our security team to review the power outage protocols and what security officers need to be doing as well as what managers and facilities people need to be thinking about. 

The community is working now on a Pandemic Flu plan. We may never need to use it, but it is better that we are thinking about this now, because it can be used for other emergency situations.

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