Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-12-15

Veteran police officer Wayne Pittman has been named Samford University’s director of public safety and emergency management effective Feb. 1, 2012. A 1990 Samford graduate, Pittman is the lieutenant of the patrol division for the Mountain Brook Police Department in suburban Birmingham. He has been with Mountain Brook since 1986.

“Wayne Pittman is the ideal candidate to take the leadership reigns of the public safety and emergency management team,” said Sarah C. Latham, Samford’s vice president for operations and planning. “He comes to Samford with a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as the leadership style and demeanor that will take the department to new levels of service. He also is a man of integrity and character, which has never been more necessary than in the environment that universities find themselves today.”

As chief, Pittman will oversee a department of 18 employees who provide public safety services for the more than 4,750 students and 1,000 employees who are on the Samford campus each day.

In his most recent post as patrol commander in Mountain Brook, Pittman has supervised 36 patrol officers and six sergeants. He previously worked in both the detective and administrative division. Earlier, he served four years as a patrol officer for the Birmingham Police Department. In addition to his Samford degree in police administration, he attended the FBI national academy in 2000. Pittman is a member of several professional organizations and was named Mountain Brook’s officer of the year in 2004.

Pittman replaces Mike Coppage, who is retiring on Dec. 31 after two-and-one-half years with Samford. Coppage previously had retired after a lengthy career with the state of Alabama. He will remain as a consultant through January to ensure a smooth transition, Latham said.

“Mike Coppage came out of retirement to lead the transformation of Samford’s public safety and emergency management function,” she added. “He achieved the mission we laid out before him much faster and with greater effectiveness than we could have anticipated. We will forever be indebted to him for his leadership.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.