Sept. 29, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

We are writing to update you on the process that our campus community is beginning to re-imagine public safety at Brandeis. We also want to share with you details on the search for the next director of public safety and chief of police, which will launch following the re-imagining process.

Re-imagining public safety on our campus

Educational institutions across the country are re-imagining how they can respond to changing environments on their campuses to create, maintain, and foster safe environments for their communities. Brandeis will soon go through a process of reflection and action, by re-examining our own public safety policies, approaches, functions and practices. In so doing, we must ensure that safety can be equally guaranteed and afforded to each member of our community as part of a university-wide approach to address racism within our campus. Our goal in re-imagining public safety will prioritize increased transparency and accountability, greater communication, enhanced training, and updated response protocols. For example, we are already reconsidering current reporting mechanisms and examining whether a differentiated response model to first-responder calls could be more effective.

The process associated with re-imagining will include broad community outreach and input, beginning with community input sessions. Facilitating this entire effort will be two independent experts, Brenda Bond-Fortier (PhD’06), who is an accomplished professor and practitioner in public administration at Suffolk University, specializing in research on organizational change in criminal justice and the development, implementation, and evaluation of public safety policies and practices; and the firm of Margolis Healy and Associates, which is a professional services firm specializing in safety, security, emergency preparedness and regulatory compliance, with a deep focus in security for higher education. Both experts have a complementary and deep understanding of campus policing and an equally deep appreciation for the national dialogue underway regarding the role of race and policing. We anticipate that this effort will take place this fall and conclude by the end of the semester.

Importantly, in very intentional ways our re-imagining effort will also inform and be a predicate to the search for a new director of public safety and chief of police – an individual who will share the same vision for public safety as the Brandeis community. Members of the search committee will participate in the community input sessions. The search committee will also receive a synthesis of all the community input sessions from our independent experts to aid them in the development of a job description. Finally, the search committee will receive a report that can be shared with finalist candidates. The outcome of this effort will be a blueprint upon which a new director of public safety can draw in realizing their vision.

Search for director of public safety and chief of police

As we announced in July, Ed Callahan, our Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police has let us know of his intention to retire by the end of this academic year. Brandeis will be conducting a national search for his replacement, led by a diverse search committee comprised of faculty, staff, students and trustees, and supported by an executive recruiting firm. The work of re-imagining public safety on our campus will inform the search committee as it develops a job description and selection of candidates. We anticipate that the search process will conclude in the Spring. We would again like to thank Ed Callahan for his willingness to serve the Brandeis community through the period of time it takes to find his successor. Finally, throughout the search process, we are committed to having a high degree of inclusivity and transparency. 

The search committee will be co-chaired by Barbara Dortch-Okara (’71), Retired Massachusetts Superior Court Judge and Brandeis Trustee, Chair of the Academy Committee and Daniel Kryder the Louis Stulberg Chair in Law and Politics Professor at Brandeis. Other members of the search committee include:

Details on when the community input sessions for the re-imagining public safety process will take place will be shared in the coming weeks. We will also share with you at that time a community website resource that will include relevant information.

We have an opportunity to be a model for other universities. We intend to draw upon our founding values to guide the process, and hope you will join us as we look forward to re-imagining the role of public safety on our campus – a role that supports and positively engages our diverse campus community and creates an inclusive academic, administrative and residential environment that is safe and supportive for all members of the Brandeis community.

We look forward to your active engagement throughout these efforts.


Stew Uretsky

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Lois Stanley

Vice President Campus Operations