by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
After working at Providence College for 14 years, this past Wednesday, Friartown said goodbye to the head of the Department of Public Safety on campus, Major John Leyden.
In the time he has been here, Leyden has seen the campus and his department change in immense ways. “Campus public safety has evolved tremendously over the last 10 years,” Leyden said. He explained that the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech and other active shooter incidents nationwide helped motivate an increased emergency preparedness that was mandated by the Department of Higher Education.
According to Leyden, PC was one of the first colleges in the area to hire a full time Emergency Management Director to oversee the emergency notifications system (FriarAlert). This position, currently filled by Koren Kanadanian, is also responsible for updating and retro-fitting the emergency blue phones and conduct trainings.
Other changes include the re-establishment of a campus bike patrol, collaboration with Independent Title IX investigators to conduct investigations and the adoption of policies and procedures based on those from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators that reviewed the campus last year. The new position filled by Lt. John Dunbar, crime prevention/campus relations officer, was created last year, and now his office works under the executive vice president’s office rather than student affairs.
“We continue to work very closely with our partners in Student Affairs,” said Leyden. He explained that his office continues to increase its staff of qualified and diverse officers and dispatch personnel, and has also increased and expanded their focus on working with the city and Providence police to address safety and quality of life issues in the neighborhood.
He explained that during his time here, he has accumulated countless fond memories and has greatly enjoyed working senior week activities and commencement. “During this time the students, some of whom we’ve developed relationships with for four years, express their appreciation and we recognize how the students have matured throughout their time here,” said Leyden.
Leyden will miss the dedicated and professional staff and faculty at PC most. “They share a commitment to the safety and success of our students as well as the relationships that are built with members of this community,” Leyden said.
As for filling his position, a search committee has been hard at work to fill his role. “The search committee has put a tremendous amount of effort into attracting and vetting candidates,” Leyden said. “I’m confident a selection will be made soon.”
In his next chapter in life, Leyden hopes to spend more quality time with his family. He would also like to do more boating and fishing year round, as well as travel and expand and his physical activity. He insists he will always be a Friar heart and soul.