On July 1, 2013, after almost a year of study and preparation, Millikin’s Board of Trustees approved a sweeping change to the safety and security department on campus: It is now completely managed and directed by the university, rather than by an outside contractor. As part of the change, the name was changed to the Department of Public Safety to more accurately reflect its mission. The department is still headed by Director Chris Ballard, a certified police officer and who was officially sworn in as Millikin’s chief of police in late July by Interim President Dr. Patrick White. Three more sworn law enforcement officers, one of whom will serve as assistant director of public safety and oversee law enforcement operations on campus, will be added during the academic year. Ballard notes that the transition to a proprietary security team overseen by trained, experienced police officers will lead to a more professional department.
What do these changes mean for Millikin?
From a services-provided perspective, little change should be noted. The same services will continue to be offered, including Safe Rides/Safe Walks, physical patrol, alarm monitoring, lockout assistance, life safety checks and general incident investigation and reporting. The officers will continue to be the 24/7/365 resource for the campus community.
However, the campus community will now have trained law enforcement officers on staff and available to quickly and efficiently address potential criminal matters or threats to campus safety. While their primary jurisdiction is campus-owned and operated properties, these campus police officers have the same legal authority as city and county officers within Macon County. As campus police officers, they also have the added discretion and ability to engage the internal processes at Millikin to address conduct issues without using the formal criminal justice system unless needed.
These department changes will also allow Millikin to strengthen its partnerships with the City of Decatur Police and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, with the City of Decatur Police Department continuing to be the primary agency to handle major investigations and incidents.