New director of public safety hopes to give department better reputation

By Nicole Lafond @GG_Lafond

Public Safety Director, Dale Newsom was hired July 1 after the former director, Craig Bishop, accepted a full-time teaching position in the criminal justice department. In just over two months in the position, Newsom has quickly gained the respect of students, faculty and staff.

“Dale Newsome brings the experience of a professional law enforcement officer, along with a heart for students and for God,” said Woody Webb, vice president for student development. “We are excited to welcome him and look forward to working with him. We are already off to a great start. He’s bringing several positive changes to the department.”

As director, Newsome now manages the duties of Public Safety with the goal of providing and maintaining a safe campus environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. According to his biography on the ONU website, Newsome is also “administering several programs, including: deterrent and awareness programs, emergency management operations, incident documentation and investigation, traffic and parking regulations, and proactive community relations.”

Although Newsome plans to make subtle changes, he believes the department was handed over to him in excellent condition.
“Craig [Bishop] always said … that he just built the foundation of public safety,” Newsome said. “But I think he built the whole house and I’m just adding a little paint to it.”

His goal for the department is simple: to be accepted by the community of Olivet as “more than just a group of people that write tickets.” He wants his staff to be “friendly, available and empathetic to the needs of everyone.” Newsome believes that his department and the rest of the University can work together as a team to promote safety.

Members of the public safety department are happy with the new leadership Newsome has demonstrated.
“He is great to work with and to work for,” said Mindy Nelson, administrative assistant for public safety. “He’s very receptive to people. He sees where there’s a need and he’s sensitive to it … There are a lot of positive things going on.”

Clerical assistant, and junior, Abby Lalumendre is excited about the new leadership in the department.
“Dale Newsome is a great guy. He is so incredibly easy to talk to … You can tell he cares deeply about what you have to say. I’m excited for the things public safety will achieve this year.”

Although he is new, this is not Newsome’s first time being a member of the ONU community. Newsome graduated from Olivet in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in social justice and physical education. Upon graduation, he began work as a patrol officer with the Pontiac Police department in Pontiac, Ill. He worked there for 28 years, fulfilling various duties and classifications, and was appointed to chief of police in 2005, a position he held for the past seven years.

While attending Olivet, Newsome worked the midnight shift for public safety. He always hoped to return to the Olivet community after retiring. He heard about the opening for the position online and decided to apply, thinking, “it was a fantastic fit.”

Newsome has mixed feelings about leaving his position with the Pontiac department. “I developed a great family with the officers and staff and I miss them. But I am happy to be able to come back to Olivet and be a part of a new family and a new community,” he said.

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