By Katie Zeck
As you walk up the wooden stairs that lead to the second floor of West House, Public Safety’s newest location, and into the office with the word “Director” on the door, expect to be welcomed with a warm, “Hey, how are ya?”a big smile and the offering of whatever food is available in the office at that time.
Vickie Weaver, director of Public Safety, and the woman who resides in this office has recently been appointed president-elect of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the leading authority for campus public safety.
“[IACLEA] is a very genuine, dedicated organization,” Weaver said. “The organization consists largely of campus police, chief public safety directors and others involved in campus public safety. It is a very committed, genuine and approachable group of people. They are a group of people that I’m very proud of, working in a profession I’m also very proud of.”
Weaver will be instated as IACLEA’s new president at its annual conference, which this year will be held in Louisville, Ky. in June 2013. As the future president of the international organization, Weaver’s responsibilities will include looking at the challenges college campus securities face on a global scale.
“We need to recognize that what happens on one campus affects us all,” Weaver said. “We’re a collaborative organization. We work with law enforcement agencies, federal agencies such as the FBI and other higher education organizations all working toward the common goal of keeping our campuses safe.”
According to the organization’s website, IACLEA’s mission is to “advance public safety for educational institutions by providing educational resources, advocacy and professional development services.”
The organization began when 11 college and university security directors met at Arizona State University in 1958 to discuss job challenges and mutual problems and to establish a forum for information shared by campus public safety directors across the country.
“The IACLEA membership now represents more than 1,200 colleges and universities in 20 countries,” said the organization’s website. IACLEA also has 2,000 individual memberships held by campus law enforcement staff, criminal justice faculty members and municipal chiefs of police.
A member of the organization since 1995, Weaver was approached by a colleague in 2005 to run for Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. She has held that position for six years.
When asked to consider running for president, Weaver admits to giving it much thought.
“After speaking with my staff and receiving support of senior administration such as Debbie Stasolla and President Rozanski, I agreed to run for the position,” she said.
Weaver’s second-in-command, Captain Jim Flatley, said that the director’s recent appointment also sheds a good light on Rider’s Public Safety as a whole.
“I know Director Weaver has been actively involved with IACLEA for a number of years and her energy and knowledge will serve IACLEA well,” Flatley said. “I think the election of Director Weaver speaks volumes of her dedication to the profession of Public Safety on college campuses. As for the Public Safety Department, it is an honor for us and the University that Director Weaver was elected. Director Weaver has, for years, sought ways for the Public Safety Department to provide the best possible service to our community. I, along with all members of the department, are proud of her election and wish her all the best as president of IACLEA.”
Weaver did not begin her education in the field of law enforcement, as would be expected, but in art education with a concentration in sculpture at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C.
“It was around the time that I graduated that schools also began laying off the music, physical education and art teachers, so I didn’t have a job,” Weaver said. “I started substitute teaching for a while, which included teaching my brother and sisters. I don’t think they found that as amusing as I did, but after a few months I knew I had to find more permanent work to pay back my loans. My father was in the military as a career Air Force and my mom was also in the Air Force. Growing up, I was always traveling and was used to the military lifestyle. So I thought, ‘Why not?’”
Weaver ended up joining the army and, following in the similar footsteps of her father, chose a career path in the military police. She was able to pay off her loans and was on active duty with the military police for six years.
It was on her last tour at Fort Dix in 1986, that Weaver began to rethink where she should take her career next.
“I knew I wanted to stay in the military, but didn’t want to be traveling like I was,” she said. “So I transferred to U.S. Army Reserves. It was then that I saw an ad in the paper for an opening at Rider College looking for a senior officer. I figured it would hold me over until I get into a police department.”
Weaver was offered the job and said that in just a short amount of time, she “fell in love with faculty, staff, students and the college’s embracing environment.”
“Overtime while working at Rider, I’ve been able to fulfill my two loves: teaching and law enforcement,” she said.
Weaver would later graduate with her master’s in Human Services Administration from Rider in 1991.
In regard to IACLEA, Weaver said she loves the strong collaborative nature of the organization.
“It’s a very close-knit community even though we have members from all over the world,” she said. “We actively participate in forums and professional development for our staff [at IACLEA]. It is important for us to stay in tune and be proactive wherever we can and notice emerging trends, share best practices and communicate so our members are as prepared as they can be.”
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