Flannery named new Public Safety Director

Katie Paape, News Editor

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John Flannery is the new director of Public Safety at Madison College. He started only two weeks ago, but he is no amateur when it comes to experience in Public Safety. Before starting at Madison College, Flannery worked as a Police Officer for 20 years before working as an instructor at NWTC in the Criminal Justice Program, and as an Associate Dean of Public Safety at Northeast Technical College.

Flannery was influenced by law enforcement from an early age, as most of his family are in the police department in Milwaukee. But what drew Flannery to a career in Criminal Justice is the impact Police Officers can have on the community – both negative and positive.

“Police officers don’t usually get called to good things,“ says Flannery. “They get called to situations in which people are at, you might say, their lowest.” If the situation is managed well, he notes, the Police Officer has the power to affect people in a positive way. Flannery hopes to transfer his belief in positive interactions to students here at Madison College. Every communication with a student has the potential to greatly impact their life, he says.

Flannery transitioned from working as a police officer to working at colleges because he enjoys engaging with students, and “having the ability to have an impact on student success.” Flannery finds it “fulfilling to be a part of that whole academic career with students, from when they first come to the college, to when they graduate.”

So far, Flannery’s job is going well.  “I can’t say enough about the public safety team. They’re dynamic, they’re professional, but more importantly, they take to heart everything they do,” he said.

While any new job will cause some level of apprehension, Flannery was relieved when he met his colleagues and staff. “People have been so friendly. They’ve welcomed and supported me, and what they do everyday aligns with my philosophy and attitude.”

Flannery is excited about his new position, and the ability he has to create change and make things better.

While Flannery is new and still getting used to his routine, he describes what a typical day as Director of Public Safety looks like. It begins with communicating with his team, reviewing reports and anything that happened overnight, holding public safety meetings, talking to administration, and reaching out to and meeting with staff and students. “Let’s just put it this way,” he says, “In the last two weeks, I have been busy enough.”

Next week, Flannery wants to visit everyone on campus.

“I’m sure it’s going to take longer than a week,” he laughs, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. “I want to get out as much as possible,” he says. “I would love to come to team meetings, different departments, student clubs, student events, and I would love to have our public safety team members really out there engaging with the campus community.”

Flannery wants to be involved at Madison College as much as possible and listen to the opinions of students and staff. “I want to hear what people have to say. Even if it’s constructive criticism about what we can do better. I’m always open to sitting down and having a coffee or responding to an email. My two big things in moving forward here is transparency and open communication.”

Flannery believes the Public Safety Department has the power and obligation to be of service to students not only through campus safety, but in every realm of student success. “I don’t ever want there to be a perception among members of the campus community that public safety is a standalone department.” If you are having an issue with anything that is affecting your life, or if you have unanswered questions, Flannery would encourage you to speak with a Public Safety member who will be happy to provide you with resources and any assistance, even if it’s something confidential.

“There really isn’t any conflict or issue here that we can’t overcome,” he said.

As the new director, Flannery would like everyone – both staff and students – to know that their department is accessible for everyone. ‘I don’t want anyone to ever feel they can’t approach us. We are here for everybody.”

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