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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Eagle

Public Safety hires director

Replacement to serve until permanent director is found

Mike McNair, formerly of the University of Maryland-College Park Police, will serve as acting director of Public Safety as of Wednesday, according to Pat Kelshian, executive director of Risk Management and Safety Services.

"[McNair] is a very strong leader," Kelshian said. "He helped establish the University of Maryland Police Academy and is very strong on police strategy as well as technology."

McNair will temporarily replace Colleen Carson, who is no longer with the University as of Nov. 25. Kelshian said that Carson's departure was unexpected, but would not comment further about it. Carson was unavailable for comment.

McNair served for 32 years before retiring in April and specialized in computer technology at Maryland. The Diamondback, Maryland's student newspaper, reported that McNair "changed the department's information system from the mass of ink and paper it once was, into a streamlined, computerized database that set the standard for departments across the state."

Kelshian emphasized McNair's technology background, especially as Public Safety is preparing to switch the software for its dispatchers and community service desk.

McNair, who was unavailable for comment, will serve as acting director until a permanent replacement is found. A search committee will be formed in the coming weeks, according to Kelshian.

"[On the search committee] there will be representatives from the Provost area and Campus Life," Kelshian said. She was unsure if a student representative will also sit on the committee.

The change in leadership comes as Public Safety has been criticized for actions related to recent sexual attacks on campus. Six attacks have occurred since the start of the semester with four in the week prior to Carson's departure.

Student Confederation President Nick Terzulli released a statement after the fourth attack stating there is "serious doubt as to the overall campus safety climate." Terzulli released another statement following Carson's departure supporting the change.

"Ever since these attacks have happened, serious doubt has been cast on the effectiveness of Public Safety," Terzulli said. "This change is a positive step in re-evaluating the role of Public Safety within the campus community."

McNair received a bachelor's degree in law enforcement and master's degree in management information systems from Maryland. He is currently an adjunct professor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., teaching computer technology-related course, according to Kelshian.

"One of the first things he wants to do," Kelshian said, "is meet with students and student groups"

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