Director of Public Safety Aims to Build Strong Rapport with Community

David Meyer, director of Public Safety, oversees two captains, four supervisors and 20 officers and patrol people that work around the clock.
Posted 11/01/06
Though David Meyer wears plain clothes to work every day, he still has the approach and sensibilities of an officer in uniform.

In the past 27 years, Meyer has worked his way up the ranks from patrol person to officer to supervisor to captain. In October 2005 he was named interim director and in May 2006, he was promoted to director of Public Safety.

“It’s a unique position to be in because as the director, I have to be available 24-7 for whatever might come up,” Meyer says from his second-floor office in the Public Safety Building on High Street. “Heading a department that is a 24-hour operation can be a real challenge.”

Meyer says he rarely works a regular schedule, and Monday through Friday shifts are unordinary. He and two captains rotate their schedules so at least one of them is available at all times. If an incident is serious, Meyer will be notified whether he is on or off duty.

As the new director, Meyer has a few goals in mind. For one, he wants to build a stronger rapport with the campus and Middletown community, and hopes the Public Officers can gain more respect for their problem solving abilities.

“We are geared towards helping people resolve issues and we pride ourselves on that,” Meyer says.

Meyer says implementing new technology, such as having computers in patrol vehicles, is on his list of to-dos. He wants to train his staff to use certain technology and equipment to make their jobs easier.

Meyer also wants to make the department more efficient and stresses that all officers work on being and doing their best every day.

“This department isn’t me. It’s every patrol person, supervisor and officer in here,” Meyer says. “They do an outstanding job and I regularly get compliments about how courteous and professional the staff is.”

The Office of Public Safety consists of Meyer, two other captains, four supervisors and 20 officers and patrol people. The staff is multifaceted, and staff members are called upon to do everything from break up physical confrontations to respond to mechanical problems.

Often times, they will be asked to make a uniformed presence at certain Wesleyan events such as football games and Reunion and Commencement Weekend. They not only work at keeping these events safe, they are available to offer friendly assistance to anyone in need.

Although Meyer’s job as director is primarily administrative, he still makes time to go on site. Recently, he worked at Homecoming/Family Weekend events. He regularly helps out at Residential Life functions.

Maureen Isleib, associate director of Residential Life, has worked with Meyer for six years and has requested his presence at dozens of events. Beneath that gruff exterior, she says, is a man who really cares about the safety and security of our community. 

“In particular, over the past few years we have teamed up to educate students about precautions they can take to ensure their own safety, and Dave actively solicits feedback from student leaders regarding how to best reach out to the campus,” Isleib says. “He’s not a man who just sits behind his desk, he leads by example often staffing many of the large events on campus, including the parties that run into the early hours of the morning.”

When Meyer started at Wesleyan in 1979, the Office of Public Safety was located in the basement of North College. His office remained there until 1999 when it moved to a former graduate student house on High Street.

During his time here, Meyer says he’s noticed a trend in campus consolidation, and this benefits his department tremendously.

“I’ve seen a lot of change on campus like the Freeman Athletic Center addition and the new Fauver Field Residences, which is a great thing for the campus,” Meyer explains. “Wesleyan doesn’t really have any boundaries. It blends in with the community, so it’s always good to bring the students in closer, and when they are closer, it’s easier for us to keep them safer.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor