Published on March 15, 2021  
Public Safety Feature

Samford University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) has provided an incredible service to our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic of the past year.  Comprised of 15 police officers, two dispatchers, and one administrative support team member, DPS is available 24/7.  

“DPS has not missed a single shift during the pandemic, whether in lockdown or open under COVID-19 protocols. Every day, the shifts was staffed, and the campus was never left unprotected. The officers were extremely dedicated and knew that even though the campus was partially empty, the routine law enforcement functions of patrol, safety and protection still had to continue,” said Tommy Taylor, chief officer. 

Throughout the summer, when most employees worked remotely, DPS remained on campus, ensuring it was well monitored. In addition, the team’s responsibilities grew over the past year to include helping administer COVID-19 tests. 

“COVID-19 testing assistance allowed DPS to help a lot of students and employees find out if they were positive or negative, which greatly impacted their lives. I will always be proud of the people we have been able to help and the way in which we did it,” Taylor said. “COVID-19 required all of DPS to adopt an ‘all hands on deck’ philosophy, and we all worked very closely together to keep the campus safe.”

Taylor noted that collaboration across campus was the key to maintaining a safe environment. “As hard as it is to comprehend, COVID-19 did require many people to work more closely together than they likely had done so in the past. I was fortunate to build strong relationships with multiple colleagues and teams on campus. I think the main takeaway for me was to truly learn that it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep the campus safe,” Taylor said.

Despite the success of DPS during this difficult period, Taylor is looking forward to a post-COVID-19 campus. “I will be glad to get back to the business of campus-wide public safety engagement, without the confines of masks, protocols, or online meetings. I truly enjoy speaking face to face with students, employees, groups, and organizations,” he said.
 
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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and US News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 1st nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.