March 15, 1999 Vol. III, No. 12

New Campus Public Safety Director to Arrive in Mid-April

Ronald Seacrist Brings 29 Years Law Enforcement Experience at Campus and Municipal Levels

Ronald Seacrist, a 29-year law enforcement veteran and current police chief at the University of Texas-San Antonio, has been appointed as Cal State Northridge's new director of public safety by University President Blenda J. Wilson.

Seacrist, 50, whose background includes extensive campus and municipal law enforcement experience, is scheduled to start at CSUN on April 15. His hiring caps a 13-month transitional period for CSUN law enforcement since the Jan. 30, 1998 retirement of former director Ed Harrison.

"Chief Seacrist was the top choice of the university's search committee. He clearly understands the dynamics of campus law enforcement and has the depth and breadth of experience to succeed in the job," Wilson said. "I join with the rest of the campus community in welcoming him later this spring."

At CSUN, Seacrist will oversee a Public Safety Department that includes the campus policing function with 19 sworn officers; parking and transportation services; the student-staffed Community Service Officer (CSO) program; and campus environmental health and occupational safety programs.

The Public Safety Department had general fund expenditures last fiscal year of about $2 million. Seacrist began his law enforcement career in 1970 with a 1012 year stint on the Tampa (Fla.) Police Department, but then shifted to a succession of university positions, including three police chief-level jobs prior to CSUN. "It's a much more positive environment," he said of campus policing.

"A campus is a unique environment," Seacrist said. "I believe the Public Safety Department and every employee in it is part of the university's learning environment. Our goal in the academic environment is to allow students to learn, and that's what we in public safety ought to be supporting."

Mary Ann Cummins-Prager, CSUN's assistant vice president for student affairs, operations and personnel, said Seacrist was chosen from more than 35 applicants, including five finalists who were brought to campus recently for interviews. Cummins-Prager chaired the search committee for the job.

CSUN Lt. Marc Hissong has been serving as the university's interim police chief since Harrison's retirement last year. Hissong retired from university service at the end of February but will continue as interim police chief until Seacrist's arrival, campus officials said. Seacrist has headed UTSA's police department since August 1994. The department has 43 sworn officers and 38 security guards, covering three different campus locations totaling nearly 20,000 students. He also oversaw health and safety, asset and risk management, and institutional compliance.

Previously, he served as director of public safety at Valdosta State University in Georgia from October 1989 to August 1994, and director of risk management, safety and security at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Florida from February 1988 to October 1989. Before that, Seacrist was director of public safety at the University of Central Florida in Orlando from September 1982 to February 1988, and was assistant director of security at Tulane University in New Orleans from November 1980 to August 1982.

Among his other accomplishments, Seacrist has a master's degree in sociology (criminal justice administration) from Valdosta State and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He also has been certified as a security expert by the American Society for Industrial Security.

-John Chandler

March 15, 1999

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