Director, Safety and Security for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2023


DSS Campus Safety

About the Department

The Department of Safety and Security (DSS) encompasses Emergency Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Campus Safety, Transportation and Parking Services, and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). DSS is a unit within the Division of Finance and Administration, reporting to the Vice President and General Counsel, and is led by the Associate Vice President for Safety and Security. The Department is tasked with developing and implementing comprehensive safety strategies that serve the University community, strengthen collaborations between the DSS and students, faculty, staff, and neighbors, and appropriately align with institutional values and priorities. The University of Chicago campus is part of Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, which contains a significant amount of off-campus University property. In addition to the students housed on campus and in the areas adjacent, more than a third of the University's staff resides in areas surrounding the campus, and more than 50% of the University's faculty resides in the Hyde Park area. By long tradition, the University works with the city of Chicago, providing safety and security options in Hyde Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Job Summary

The Director of Safety and Security for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools serves as the primary safety administrator for the Laboratory Schools, including leadership for developing, implementing, and maintaining a comprehensive physical security plan and school safety program, including emergency preparedness, for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. The Director aims to promote a safe and secure educational environment for students, staff, parents, and visitors. The Director supervises and evaluates subordinate proprietary or contractual staff, provides recommendations for enhancements to school security and emergency preparedness systems, recommends and implements new school safety initiatives, conducts incident investigations, and regular general safety and security assessments. The Director must work collaboratively with organizational leadership to develop, implement, and maintain programs that promote a safe and secure school and will serve as a key liaison between the Schools and the Department of Safety and Security. This position reports to DSS' Executive Director for Campus Safety and will work collaboratively with the Laboratory School's Associate Director of Finance and Administration. The Director oversees a safety and security team comprised of 13 full-time employees.


  • Oversees the development and implementation of security operation policies and procedures compliant with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) Campus Safety standards.
  • Oversees the recruiting and hiring of proprietary security staff and coordinates with DSS' Security Services division for any contract security.
  • Develops and implements pre-service, annual in-service, and other ongoing career development for security staff in accordance with security best practices.
  • Conducts incident-based investigations and ensures security staff adhere to unit-specific policies and procedures.
  • In collaboration with the University of Chicago Police Department, indirectly oversees the assigned UCPD School Resource Officers (SROs).
  • In collaboration with the DSS Emergency Management Unit, develops and maintains the School's Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Develops and maintains building-specific emergency action plans.
  • Recommends, develops, and conducts an annual emergency preparedness training program for the School's faculty, staff, and students.
  • Chair's the School's Emergency Management Committee, whose members assist in revising emergency operations plans and the development of emergency management and safety-related programming.
  • Develops and conducts, at minimum, an annual emergency management tabletop exercise for school leadership.
  • Recommends, develops, and conducts school safety education programs and collaborates with other DSS divisions to coordinate specific safety education programs for the school community (e.g., active threat response, fire safety education, crime prevention safety, etc.)
  • Conducts ongoing assessments of the School's physical security and emergency management systems and recommends additions and/or improvements of that technology (i.e., cameras, card access, public address systems, etc.) to school leadership.
  • Works collaboratively with DSS' Security Technology unit to make enhancements or additions to physical security and emergency management technology.
  • Serves as a member of, and the security and law enforcement liaison for, the School's Threat Assessment Team.
  • Maintains a working relationship with police, fire, and other safety and security-related organizations to ensure their assistance when responding to incidents.
  • Collaborates with key internal stakeholders within DSS and the Laboratory Schools on safety and security issues.
  • Works with the appropriate departments to maintain safe and secure buildings for after-hours programs.
  • Reviews all incident reports and takes action when appropriate, which may include working with the local police or other law enforcement agencies.
  • Responds to requests from key administrators, including principals, regarding school safety and security matters.
  • Conducts, at minimum, a triennial assessment of the School's safety and security program with a particular focus on security, technology, and emergency preparedness functions and makes recommendations to school leadership regarding any needed changes or enhancements.
  • Develops and manages plans for and the response to campus emergencies, threats, events, and demonstrations.
  • Ensures that policies and procedures are implemented consistently throughout the department, including accurate reporting in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and higher education guidelines.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.


Driver's License - Multiple States, Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Certification - State of Illinois


Preferred Qualifications


  • Bachelor's degree in criminal justice or related field, such as emergency preparedness, from an accredited college or University.
  • Combinations of applicable education, training, and experience which provide the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to perform effectively in the position may be considered.


  • Considerable experience in managing an organization of comparable size in law enforcement, security, or other related field.
  • Professional experience in K-12th grade settings.
  • Familiar with current safety and security best practices including physical security (to include electronic security systems), personnel security, emergency preparedness and response and risk assessment.


  • ASIS Certified Protection Professional (CPP) or Physical Security Professional (PSP) Certification or the ability to obtain certification within one year.
  • Incident Command System 200 Level and NIMS 800 Level Certification. Valid Security Officer Registration Card where applicable.
  • Driver's license. Operate vehicles/drive motorized equipment; good driving record.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of local, state, and federal laws and ordinances related to school safety and security, the ability to plan, organize, monitor, and evaluate a comprehensive safety and security program.
  • Organizational staffing and consequences of promotions and/or transfers.
  • Basic financial management methods, techniques, and procedures.
  • EEO/Affirmative Action guidelines for recruitment, selection, and promotion.
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures of the University.
  • Organizational staffing and human resources best practices.
  • Write policy and procedures for departmental use.

Preferred Competencies

  • Absorb and interpret information given while maintaining perspective on the goals of the department.
  • Maintain professionalism, credibility and good customer service skills when dealing with all contacts, internal and external.
  • Lead by example.
  • Remain calm and objective throughout stressful and unpleasant situations.
  • Make timely, sound decisions and accept concomitant responsibility.
  • Communicate effectively and consistently with others using tact when necessary.
  • Develop the skills of staff and prepare personnel for increased responsibilities.
  • Knowledge of importance/priority in determining what should be communicated to supervisors.
  • Convey information concisely without loss of necessary detail.
  • Maintain an effective level of performance beyond normal demands for extended periods of time.
  • Schedule and manage personal job activities, i.e., to set activity priorities, sequences and maintains perspective.
  • Evaluate the job performance of subordinates through behavioral observation, reviews or work products, informal conversations, etc.
  • Initiate, implement and follow through on projects, programs or assignments with completed staff work.
  • Incorporate new information after one has arrived at a conclusion in a problem analysis process.
  • Negotiate compromises between others; interact with individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Understand the mission, values, objectives and goals of the department and be able to incorporate them in the daily operations of the department.
  • Detail oriented and prepare documents and/or reports as necessary. Commitment to serving the interest of the University community and the strategic goals of the Department of Safety and Security.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with the general public and members of the University community; work with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Work with people of various ages and backgrounds and with diverse constituencies, including students, parents, faculty, and staff in the University and the Medical Center.
  • Skill to build consensus and credibility across the campus.
  • Resolve conflicts and manage sensitive emergency situations appropriately.
  • Demonstrated self-restraint in challenging and/or difficult situations.
  • Demonstrate that he/she is of good moral character.
  • Mentally and physically react effectively, quickly, calmly, and rationally during times of conflicts and emergencies.
  • Train or teach others.

Working Conditions

  • On-call responsibilities; on call and available to work nights/weekends/holidays as necessary.
  • Outdoor weather exposure. Work in inclement weather or weather extremes.
  • Exposure to human blood, human blood components, and/or products made from human blood.
  • High-stress environment.
  • Use of personal protective equipment.
  • Office environment.
  • Travel to various on-campus and off-campus locations.

Mental Demand:

  • Be aware of safety hazards and take appropriate precautions.
  • Communicate orally and in writing.
  • Ability to read and comprehend technical documents.
  • Condense complicated issues to simple summaries that can be understood by a variety of constituents.
  • Create and deliver presentations.
  • Develop and manage interpersonal relationships.
  • Exercise absolute discretion regarding confidential matters.
  • Follow written and/or verbal instructions.
  • Give directions.
  • Handle sensitive matters with tact and discretion.
  • Handle stressful situations.
  • Learn and develop skills.
  • Maintain a high level of alertness.
  • Pay attention to detail.
  • Perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Prioritize work and meet deadlines.
  • React effectively, quickly, calmly, and rationally during conflicts and emergencies.
  • Work effectively and collegially with little supervision or as a member of a team.
  • Work with frequent interruptions.
  • Work with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Physical Effort:

  • Use computers extensively for 4 hours or more.
  • Bend, crouch, or stoop.
  • Operate a vehicle safely.
  • Operate equipment necessary to perform the job.
  • Ability to run.
  • Stand for 4 hours or more.
  • Travel to various on campus and off-campus locations.
  • Safely defend self/or others in hostile, combative situations.
  • Use standard workstation and office equipment.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Police & Security

Role Impact

People Manager

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu. Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.