After phone and on-campus interviews with potential candidates for the College Director of Public Safety position, Interim Director Dave Zylak has been selected to officially take on the responsibility.
Having been with the College since last April as Interim Director, Zylak has become increasingly familiar with the College campus, having already been a lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County and affiliated with the campus through his daughter, a St. Mary’s graduate.
Among other potential candidates, Zylak was selected over Carlos Sanchez, currently a public safety consultant in Miami, Florida.
After numerous phone interviews, seven candidates were selected. “From there, we came up with the top three to bring to campus,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless, “and Zylak and Sanchez were two of the top three.” The third interviewee declined the on-campus interview.
Zylak and Sanchez spent last Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, in meetings with students and administrators discussing the position and views of public safety and law enforcement. This involved having lunch with students at noon in the Great Room, a tour around campus (even for Zylak), and an open forum in the Glendening Annex from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“While background checks still need to be completed,” said Bayless, ”Zylak has been offered the position of Director of Public Safety.”
In meetings with students, Zylak believed that the most important role of a public safety officer is to protect students, faculty, staff, and others on-campus, a role similar to a police officer with respect to a city’s citizens and visitors. He has encouraged positive Public Safety-student relations through programs with students and bi-monthly open hours and hopes to replace the police-like look of the current public safety officers with shirts displaying embroidered badges.
“Most students know the officers and some by name,” said Zylak, “so the hard badge and uniform is not really necessary.”
In terms of partying policy, Zylak understood some students like to drink and could get a little “tipsy.” He said, “If you’re stumbling around on Route 235 at night in and out of traffic, we might have a problem.”