It may only be for a few months, but Tim Alben plans to leave a mark on Springfield College.
On Christmas Eve an email was sent to the campus community naming Timothy Alben as the interim Director of Public Safety at Springfield College. Alben, an East Longmeadow resident, started at the college on January 11 and is by no means a stranger to Public Safety, having spent 32 years as a Massachusetts State Trooper.
With the Mass. State Police, Alben started as a road trooper in Western Mass., but from 2012 until the time of his retirement in July 2015 he climbed his way to Colonel Superintendent, or as he defines it, “The CEO.” He led the State Police in the investigations into the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
The search for someone to fill the position was not an easy one after Michael Sullivan stepped down late in the fall semester. After a thorough search and narrowing down to two finalists, the school and search committee decided and informed the school on Dec. 11 that neither of the two finalists was right for the position.
And that’s what led Alben to Springfield College. He was contacted by an old friend about interest in the interim position, and due to the proximity of the campus to his home, he felt like it would be a good opportunity.
He has already stated that he will not seek the full-time position, and will serve in the interim place until a permanent candidate is found. The school hopes to have hired a permanent candidate via a national search by April 1, and will utilize the help of the Spelman and Johnson group of Easthampton, Mass.
Despite this fixed time period, however, the least of his plans is to be stagnant.
“I can never just maintain; it’s not my nature,” Alben said. “[My plan is] to go over here, do an assessment of the police department and certainly leave them with some recommendations when my term is up here.”
He cited that those recommendations will range from how the public safety department is run from operational to administrative standpoints.
And for a campus that had a less than comforting number of crimes surrounding it during the fall, Alben’s presence on campus is both reassuring, but simultaneously raising questions about what will be done to keep students safe.
“Part of [the mission of the public safety department] is protecting our students and our community here from outside threats and that’s a big part of it,” Alben said. “So we certainly want to have a very prominent presence on those adjoining street areas that abut the campus.”
Alben has a few goals in mind during his tenure at Springfield, with one notably being the implementation of the body cameras to be worn by officers on campus.
“One of my immediate priorities is getting [the cameras] ready and getting them distributed to our staff because the old ones were kind of falling in disrepair and weren’t really reliable,” Alben said.
He also mentioned the importance of the Clery Act on campus.
The Act, which was signed in 1990, requires all colleges and universities involved in federal financial programs to disclose all information regarding crime on and near campus.
“We have a big responsibility for reporting under the Clery Act. I’d really like to see more efficiency and a better product at the end of the year in terms of our Clery report,” Alben said.
Even with the finite time period, Alben displays tremendous vision in terms of responsibility and goals for the Public Safety department both during his tenure and beyond.