Q&A with Tim Marron
New executive director of public safety feels right at home at SU
Tim Marron began last month as executive director of Public
Safety and Transportation, bringing to the role 19 years of
experience in law enforcement, both as a city police officer and a
campus police sergeant. About a month into his time at SU, the
Spokane native and Pacific Lutheran University graduate spoke of
his career path, his first impressions of SU and a rather
intriguing interest he pursues during off hours.
The Commons: Can you talk a little bit
about your background?
Tim Marron: I worked for Puyallup Police
Department for over 14 years, including a three-year stint as an
instructor with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training
Center-the one police academy in the state other than the State
Patrol, which has their own. The course of my career was spent in
uniformed patrol but also with a focus on emergency preparedness
and emergency management, especially active shooter response.
When I was at the academy, my focus was on developing police
leaders-how to do the actual "stuff" of police work, including all
the various types of emergency response. So, throughout my career I
spent a lot of time in the community, preparing them and teaching
them how to respond to emergencies. That continued (when I was)
second in command at The Evergreen State College police department.
(Unlike SU, they have a full-time, commissioned police
department-all four-year state schools do, none of the private
Tim Marron is pictured here with (left to right) sons Austin and Connor, niece Madeline and nephew Jackson.
The Commons: So what was it about SU that
drew you here?
Tim Marron: When I saw the position of
executive director open at Seattle U and saw the job description,
it matched perfectly-at least in my mind-with all the experience,
training, education that I had in my police career, especially with
the focus on guiding the community in emergency preparedness and
coordinating with city, state and federal agencies.
I have a Jesuit education-I went to Gonzaga Prep. When I came
here for the interview day and I got to know the community, it felt
like coming home. So, being able to work on emergency preparedness
in a community that's near and dear to my heart and identifying
strongly with the values of creating just and humane leaders in the
world was ideal.
The Commons: Now that you've been here
about a month, what have been your first impressions of SU?
Tim Marron: I love working here. It's
exciting because the university has such a commitment to public
safety-not just in words, but in action. The university has devoted
the resources necessary, and sought out the top consultants
in university public safety (Margolis Healy and Associates) to
ensure that we are not only ready for the day to day things that
Public Safety is responsible for but also for those
once-in-a-career events that can make or break a university.
The Commons: What opportunities and challenges
do you see for SU?
Tim Marron: The challenges at SU are no
different than the challenges at any university in a major city-and
that's dealing with crime in the local area, raising awareness of
the campus community, upgrading the infrastructure for security
purposes, like security cameras, environmental design for increased
security, as well as providing adequate staffing, training,
upgraded equipment and especially maintaining a good relationship
with local police and fire. We are fortunate that the (Seattle
Police Department) East Precinct is essentially two blocks off
campus and we have three major hospitals within walking
distance-Seattle University has some great advantages over other
universities in that respect.
The Commons: How did you become involved
in the field of law enforcement and public safety?
Tim Marron: It's funny, I started at
Pacific Lutheran with a major in education and while I was there,
to help pay the bills, I worked as a campus safety officer. At the
time, PLU had only a few professional, full-time staff and the rest
were student staff. So in the course of that, I got to know the
role of campus public safety officer and also worked closely with
Pierce County Sheriff's Department, which was our primary
responding agency. Working with those fine professionals is really
what really inspired me to look for a career in law
The Commons: Looking back on your
previous roles, either from your time on the Puyallup force or at
The Evergreen College, what is it that has brought you the most
Tim Marron: At Evergreen, preparing the
police department and the campus community to respond to a major
incident that would be devastating to the school like an active
shooter or earthquake, and knowing that when I left the college,
they were far better prepared than the day that I and some others
walked in there. That's a great feeling of satisfaction.
One of the things that goes along with this job is a constant
sense of urgency. In public safety, we don't think about, Oh, well,
in about six months we'll be better prepared to deal with (a major
event)-we think, What if it happens today? What I want all of my
officers to understand is, where am I in relation to where the
possible emergency could occur? What can I do today to be better
prepared to respond to that-to be in a position to save that life,
what's something that buys me those extra seconds? So what brings
me the most satisfaction is giving the officers and the community
the training and the equipment and the plan so that when the
emergency happens, they're best prepared to deal with it. Because
in an emergency-under stress-people do not rise to the occasion;
they sink to the level of their training and preparation.
The Commons: Going back to your days as a
student at Gonzaga Prep, what did you take away from the Jesuit
education you received there?
Tim Marron: It especially hit home when I
spent the past few weeks here and reflected on my professional and
personal journey. In law enforcement, particularly teaching at the
police academy, it's not like boot camp where you're teaching
people to follow orders, salute and what not-that's crucial in the
military. In law enforcement, though, each officer at some point is
the captain of his or her own ship. They're the one on the scene
that has to make that critical decision in seconds. And because of
the power entrusted to them, they have to have a good moral code
and this sense of humanity about them.
So, in looking at the mission of Seattle University and the
mission of the Jesuits, it's remarkable how it ties in nicely with
law enforcement and with public safety, in general. When you're in
a position of that sort of responsibility, you have to be just-you
have to have a sense of justice-and you have to be a humane person
and you have to be a leader. So public safety, in essence is making
sure that every member of the staff at all levels develops those
qualities based in a sense of justice. Reflecting on my career and
particularly my teaching career at the academy, the impact of being
raised in a Catholic community and going through that Jesuit
institution is remarkable. And now I have 1,200 former recruits who
are police officers on the streets in Washington State. I run into
The Commons: Have you read any books
lately that you'd recommend?
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