Cyrus Brown, a 30-plus year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), has been named Saint Leo University’s executive director of University Public Safety.
In this newly created position at Saint Leo, Brown will oversee safety and security for all of the university’s locations, including its more than 40 branch education centers and offices across the states of California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Brown, who most recently served as an associate director of Public Safety at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, plans to perform safety and security assessments at all of Saint Leo’s locations.
“…We’re going to ensure that we have a continuity of public safety across all of Saint Leo’s educational centers,” Brown said. “They’re on the right track, and I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing so far — it’s just a matter of continuing to identify ways to improve what we’re doing. When it comes to public safety, there’s always new technologies that are coming out, so I’m continuing to scan to see what’s out there and what we can do better.”
Crime rates for the university’s main campus in East Pasco County are relatively low.
According to Saint Leo’s 2015-2016 annual security report, there were no reported cases of on-campus robbery, burglary, aggravated assault or motor vehicle theft in 2014.
However, there was one on-campus sex offense and two cases of stalking on campus, records show.
Drug and alcohol abuse were the most common incidents on the university’s main campus, which has about 2,400 students enrolled for the 2016 fall semester.
Records show there were five on-campus arrests for drug abuse violations and 13 disciplinary referrals for drug abuse in 2014. Though no arrests were reported for alcohol-related offenses, there were 288 on-campus disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations.
To further combat crime at Saint Leo, the former Florida Highway Patrol official is encouraging students, faculty and visitors to report any suspicious activity they may come across.
“See something, say something, no matter how small it is,” Brown said. “I think it takes all of us working together, to keep all of us at the university safer.
“The last thing you want is students to be concerned about their safety.”
Brown said his experience working in campus safety at Bethune-Cookman will serve him well in his new role, especially in terms of understanding the dynamics of the university environment.
He noted that Saint Leo’s rural setting is more ideal in detaining an active threat, compared to a university located in a metropolitan area, like Bethune-Cookman.
“If you ask me, Saint Leo is the ideal campus,” Brown said. “The way things are situated, in an urban setting, you’re dealing with everything in a compact environment, but in a rural setting, it’s so wide open…and you can keep a handle on things a lot better.”
Brown, who officially started Aug. 1, said he’s been impressed with the procedures of the campus security and safety department thus far.
“They do a great job of preserving the peace, they do a great job in terms of interacting with students, faculty and even our visitors,” he said. “When it comes to the public safety side, they’re really doing a tremendous job in moving us in the right direction.”
Additional areas Brown is focusing on: more staff training and more correspondence with local law enforcement agencies, such as the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and the Dade City Police Department.
That includes a better familiarity with the main campus’s various entry and exit points, should an active threat arise.
“We’re constantly doing training,” he said, “so they can get a real-life understanding of each of the buildings and the layout of the campus.”
He added: “We have to stay out in front of (possible threats), and we do that through constantly providing training and keeping it fresh on everyone’s minds.”
Why are you interested in law enforcement?
“I guess it goes back to when I was in high school, my interest was to go into criminal justice. I did that through the community college level and then went into the U.S. Army, where I served for three years.”
Why did you want to work in public safety at the university level?
“I wanted to do something in the university perspective in terms of law enforcement or public safety because I feel that’s where my strong points are. I’ve done a lot to prepare for it in terms of the training I’ve received in law enforcement and also the educational aspect of it.
“All of my training, it takes me back to public safety or law enforcement. So, it was an excellent opportunity for me to look at the public safety side of things, and I find it quite intriguing. It’s a little different than law enforcement.”
What’s the difference between law enforcement and public safety?
“If a situation were to go down, such as an active threat or active shooter (on campus), the law enforcement agency will come in and take a leadership role in terms of trying to get that situation resolved. Public safety — we just detain and get law enforcement to deal with the active threat.”
How does your law enforcement background help you in this new role?
“Throughout my law enforcement career, I was able to establish relationships with other law enforcement agencies like the sheriff’s department and the local police department, and I think that helps, too, when it comes to public safety — sitting at the table, working through mutual concerns from both sides. I think with my experience and those network relationships, it’s been a smooth transition for me.”
Cyrus Brown bio
Cyrus Brown holds a Bachelor of Science from Barry University and a Master of Science the University of Central Florida. He also has extensive law enforcement training. He’s graduate from the FBI National Academy, the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville and the Leadership in Police Organizations program of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
He also has considerable law enforcement experience. He was a trooper for the Florida Highway Patrol (1984 to 1988), a lieutenant with the FHP (1990 to 1994), a captain with the FHP (1994 to 2009) and a major with the FHP (2009 to 2015).
Published August 31, 2016