As teased a few weeks ago, St. Mary’s College of Maryland has a new director of public safety. Sean Tallarico formally entered his position on Feb. 4 and has been running the Department of Public Safety ever since. Mr. Tallarico entered the St. Mary’s community after a brief retirement following his 25 year career at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. At Moravian, Tallarico oversaw extensive developments in public safety. Upon his arrival, Moravian’s public safety department was little more than a neighborhood watch that lacked even a proper office from which to operate. By the time he left the school, he had developed the tiny program into a fully-fledged public safety unit.
After a few years of well-earned retirement, Tallarico decided that he wanted to return to his career in college security. He was eventually notified by a job aggregation site that SMCM was looking for a new director. To hear him tell it, Tallarico sounds much like a recently accepted student when describing what attracted him to St. Mary’s: “I wanted a small liberal arts school, which St. Mary’s certainly is. However, what really drew me in was the reputation and mission of the school.”
By mission, he mostly means the role that public safety programs and officers should play in a college community. His feelings on this question played a large part in the decisions that led to his hiring. As Dean Roberto Ifill put it, “President Urgo and I feel that every faculty member at St. Mary’s should have some sort of educational role to play. We liked Sean so much, in part, because of the way he wants to apply that role to Public Safety officers.”
This philosophical compatibility is important at a time when the College is trying to improve the effectiveness of its security nets. Many colleges deal with similar safety issues, but in a very different way. President Urgo talked to The Point News about the risks that come with trying to improve safety. “With college safety, you really have to resist the urge to policify your security,” he said. “If you want people to be safer, it’s easy to just make your security officers and administration more tough, more unforgiving, but that’s not what we want here at St. Mary’s.” As already stated, the President’s plan for improving security is based more on increasing student involvement and awareness rather than toughening safety enforcement itself.
For the time being, Sean Tallarico is still settling in to his new position. Most of his time is divided between meeting with campus administrators and reviewing safety protocols. Despite his busy schedule, he encourages anyone who has safety concerns or ideas to meet with him if they feel so inclined.
On another note, Dean Ifill wishes to extend his and the administration’s sincerest thanks to Mac McClintock for his service as the interim director of public safety.