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Chief Public Safety Officer

University of Vermont
Vermont, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted date
Jul 23, 2021

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Safety & Security, Chief Business Officers & Vice Presidents
Employment Level
Salary Band
Not specified
Employment Type
Full Time
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Chief Public Safety Officer


The mission of the Division of Public Safety (DPS) is the protection of health, safety, and welfare of the entire University of Vermont community. The Division provides services across the University to all constituents, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors. DPS achieves this mission through the provision of services by five departments/offices, specifically: Police Services, Office of Emergency Management, Risk Management and Safety Department, Office of Compliance, and CATcard Service Center. The Division is currently home to approximately 67 employees.


Reporting to the President, the Chief Public Safety Officer provides leadership and direction for a multi-function workforce that offers comprehensive services to the University community. This senior level position must work collaboratively with University leaders, as well as local, state, and federal entities to ensure a coordinated approach to service provision.


Position Expectations

The CPSO must build and maintain strong relationships with University leaders and with leadership within the Division. The CPSO must recognize and balance the expectations of the institution with the required actions to maintain a safe environment at the University, a stance that regularly places the CPSO in a challenging position.


Division Administration

  • Provides leadership in strategic planning, including setting goals and objectives, for a diverse and complex organization with comprehensive risk, safety, compliance, and emergency management service responsibilities year-round, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Establishes operational policies and sets priorities with organization-wide impact, and consistency with the broader institutional priorities and objectives and in alignment with executive leadership.
  • Directs unit leaders and staff through setting the division direction, encouraging professional development, and emphasizing the importance of staff collaborating with the University community.
  • Productively supports unit leaders when they have to make difficult, challenging, and unpopular decisions. Mentors unit leaders to consider all relevant stakeholders and resolution alternatives, including the impact on other University divisions.
  • Directs divisional budget management, including strategic budget planning with all departments/offices in the division.
  • Facilitates regular division staffing reviews and identifies trends to establish staffing levels for optimal service delivery.
  • Works with the Chief Communications Officer to set direction for public information activities and to align communication with efforts to ensure the safety of the campus community.
  • Through supervision of the Director of Compliance Services and Chief Privacy Officer, the CPSO is responsible for effective promotion of an institutional culture of compliance and the safeguarding of personal, protected, sensitive and confidential data held by the University. Through the Director of Compliance Services, the CPSO also is responsible for Vermont Public Records Act compliance as well as administrative oversight of all University policies and procedures.


Program Development and Administration

  • Anticipates institutional needs for ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors based on a regular evaluation of current events, trends, and best practices.
  • Serves as the University’s Chief Risk Officer with responsibility for all enterprise risk management activities, including managing the University’s risk portfolio, appropriately mitigating risks, protecting the University’s assets, and determining how best to insure against losses.
  • Identifies and implements programs to proactively address the University’s institutional emergency management and safety demands.
  • Supports a holistic approach to service that values diversity in the workforce as well as providing services to a diverse community.
  • Works with counterparts across the University to facilitate occupational and environmental improvement programs and the University’s response to prolonged and widespread health emergencies.
  • Directs and encourages the continued development and adaption of the University’s emergency response plans for natural, technological, or human-caused catastrophes through the lens of preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery.
  • Evaluates the division’s programs’ effectiveness, directing changes as appropriate.
  • Ensures compliance with local, state, and federal regulations pertaining to institutional safety, risk management, compliance, and welfare, including environmental safety, fire safety codes, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy, Vermont Public Records Act, and the Campus Crime Statistics Act.


Synergy and Collaboration with University and Community Partners

  • Serves as the chief advisor to the President and senior leadership on all matters pertaining to institutional safety, risk management, and security for the University.
  • Collaborates with federal and state governing agencies to implement unified reactions and response efforts.
  • Develops and maintains strong working relationships with leaders of emergency services providers in Burlington, South Burlington, and the region.
  • Promotes equity and inclusion by developing inclusive policy, practices, and programs, emphasizing fair treatment, and serving as a catalyst for change in collaboration with diverse communities on and off campus.
  • Works with leaders of the Division of Student Affairs, the Provost’s office, the Office of Research, deans and academic leaders, and the Athletics Department, including coaches and programmatic staff, to ensure all safety and support measures are in place, particularly as related to crisis management.
  • Collaborates with the Chief Information Officer regarding matters related to information security and systems.
  • Works closely with the General Counsel on matters with potential legal ramifications and on the workers’ compensation portfolio.



  • Fosters transparency and accessibility for all division programs and services.
  • Facilitates and develops a divisional marketing and communications strategy for cohesive messaging in collaboration with the Chief Communications Officer to ensure a comprehensive understanding of topics relevant to internal and external constituencies.


Educational Requirements:

Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree preferred, in public administration, management, criminal justice, or a related field.


Professional Credentials:

  • Minimum of seven years of public safety management/risk management/command level experience, in a senior position, including diverse assignments and/or experience in an emergency management, fire safety, or law enforcement organization, preferably at an institution of higher education of similar size and complexity as the University of Vermont.
  • The ability to lead, engage in, and develop policies pertaining to the security and safety of the University.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, as well as strong verbal, written and technology skills.
  • Ability to respond with diplomacy, speed and tact during volatile situations.
  • Demonstrated skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with senior administration, academic leaders, students, faculty, staff, parents, governmental authorities, community and municipality groups and the general public.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of emergency management, risk management, compliance and safety issues as well as best practices in a higher education residential environment.
  • Ability to understand and exercise empathy regarding the intricacies of student life and the social needs/issues of the campus community.
  • Understanding of, and experience in, emergency management, emergency communication systems, and special event management.
  • The ability to possess and retain a current valid Vermont Motor Vehicle Operator license.
  • The willingness and ability to be available and respond 24/7 during critical incidents.


Among other qualifications, candidates should ideally demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Capability to adapt to unexpected changes in the University environment while maintaining continuous safety and security at the University.
  • A general understanding of first responder services, including 911 dispatching and law enforcement services, fire suppression, and emergency medical response.
  • An understanding of the broad risk management needs of a complex and multi-faceted organization, preferably, a higher education organization, including the kind of multi-layered and sometimes changing insurance portfolio needed to protect the organization.
  • A general understanding of fire, building, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.
  • Experience with the National Incident Management System and Incident Command System functions.
  • A general understanding of environmental, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or higher education related health and safety regulations.
  • A general understanding of security technology and emergency communication equipment, hardware, and software.


To learn more about this position and to apply, please visit:


The University of Vermont is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other category legally protected by federal or state law.

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