UPD names new police chief

Laura McCullough began her career at UPD 11 years ago. Her main goal as Chief of Police is to increase community and student engagement.

Erin McGuiness

Laura McCullough has recently been elected Chief of Police for Georgia Southern University after serving as the Interim Chief since May 31, 2015. McCullough has risen in the ranks at the GS Office of Campus Security over the past 11 years.

McCullough started as a patrol officer before progressing to a shift supervisor for patrol, a criminal investigator, an assistant chief director, interim chief of police and finally chief of police. McCullough stated that her diverse roles have given her insight into the dynamics of each division and each department of campus safety.

“I think that being here and having the ability to experience and work in every single one of those roles has helped me to understand where they are, what their needs are, what their day to day issues are that they deal with and hopefully have that understanding when there’s issues, and concerns and things we need change,” McCullough said.

Chief McCullough hopes to lead the department towards being a more professional agency with modern policing, while also creating community engagement with various student geared programs. McCullough’s goal is to make the “Large Scale, Small Feel” slogan exemplified by the campus police.

“I think it’s important for the chief to have relationships with students because it makes them feel that they can come to her or her department, without hesitation,” Charlotte Mason, senior public relations major said.

Although McCullough feels that the department has excellent group dynamic and open communication, she believes that the Office of Campus Security faces a problem with the rapid expansion of the campus.

“We have increased a lot of our training that we do here with our officers, we’ve increased a lot of things that we require of our officers and added a lot of specialized training that we think our community needs,” McCullough said.

Campus Carry has been a topic of conversation around the campus. McCullough expressed that she thinks the fewer guns on campus, the safer everyone is.

“I understand the proponents that are for the second amendment and I don’t oppose the second amendment. I think the way the law stands now is good but if they do decide to move on with it in some other form, we as a department will go along with that law,” McCullough said.

The campus safety department has incorporated an active shooting exercise offered to officers and students at Georgia Southern.

“I think public safety is important to our campus for a number of different reasons, the most important being that it gives students a sense of protection,” Mason said. “It’s a vital part of college campuses to make students feel like they are safe, and this is something that I believe the department should always strive for.”