The Leading Authority For Campus Public Safety

Association News

Community Caretaking: Welcome from President Paul Ominsky

NOTE: President Ominsky learned this spring that he has a serious health condition for which he received medical treatment this summer. His prognosis is good. And after consultation with the Board of Directors and officers, leadership agreed he would begin his term as president as scheduled. He was sworn in Monday, July 2.

I am very humbled by the trust that you have given to me to provide leadership for the next year. I want to take a moment to thank my family who has supported me along my journey in public safety. All of us need the love and support of our families to do this work. Anyone leading a public safety organization or in a supervisory role knows that it’s more than a 40-hour commitment and often intrudes on family life. However, we all do this work since we care about our campus communities, and we care about safety.

The different choices that the IACLEA Board has made over the years have defined our organization. We have grown from a humble beginning of 11 public safety professionals who had an idea for coming together in 1958 at Arizona State University and learning from each other’s experiences. I suspect the forefathers of our organization would never have imagined 60 years later we would be more than 4,000 strong, representing more than 1,000 institutions in 15 countries. Our goal is to continue the growth of IACLEA both domestically and internationally. We come together as an Association to advance our profession, to advocate for legislation, and as resources to one another on topics from the Clery law to active shooters. Our organization provides policy development under the IACLEA accreditation standards and many other issues impacting our profession.

Our annual conference is a combination of executive training, a vendor showcase of new technology, and time to network about common problems and issues that we all face. We discuss timely topics, hear from experts in our field—many of whom are our colleagues, our federal government colleagues, and our state and municipal partners.  

Today our organization is stronger than it has ever been. Under the leadership of our Executive Director, Sue Riseling, and a very dedicated Board of Directors, IACLEA has positioned itself for the future.  It is my goal this year to continue the work done by President Dave Bousquet, Past President Randy Burba, and a long line of past presidents who have served this organization and our profession with distinction.

Our profession has changed since 1958. Long gone are the watchmen, replaced by highly trained professional officers, whether they are security or police officers or a combination. The issues and challenges we face on our campuses today are complex, never-ending, and evolving. None of us know what the next issue that comes over the transom or your office door. Whatever it is, in our field someone needs to handle it and solve it.  

IACLEA today is at an interesting and exciting point of its own—we are stronger and larger than ever, we have new programs to offer our members, and we have new member sections. However, our need for progress is never-ending; now is the time to keep the momentum moving forward. We need to continue to be innovative, to be responsive to our members, to advocate with Congress for important legislative changes, and most of all to help our membership keep their campus communities safe.

Safety on our campuses is our professional responsibility, and it’s accomplished in many ways. It has been my view, which I suspect many of you share, that campus law enforcement has been “community policing” well in advance of most municipalities. And in this regard, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the new paradigm for our profession.

For me, this field is about service, service to our individual communities, service to our profession, and service to our students, faculty, and staff. I coined a phrase for my campus that I think highlights this aspect of our profession: Community Caretakers. It is my plan to lead IACLEA forward this year through service. And I will be Community Caretaking on behalf of IACLEA and our membership.

I cannot do it alone, and given my health, I will not do it alone; so I look to all of you, to my colleagues on the Board, to our Executive Director, and her staff to help me continue to ensure that IACLEA is the leading authority for campus public safety. Thank you all for your trust in me and your support.



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