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Q&A with Benjamin Hunter, Superintendent of public safety at Indiana University (IU)

Benjamin Hunter became superintendent of public safety at Indiana University (IU) on January 2. He previously served as executive director of public safety, community relations and government affairs at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. Hunter is an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis alumnus.


He shared these thoughts with us:


Why did you choose law enforcement as a profession?


“As a young child I was always impressed with how sharp police officers looked when they came into my parents' business (towing company). I chose to become an Indianapolis Police officer but was drawn into higher education law enforcement for more diverse opportunities with community policing.”


What is the best career advice you received?


“Be humble, loyal, and ensure you make things happen. I like to plan, but love to execute, and I never take constructive criticism personally.”


What is your guiding philosophy of leadership?


“Individuals in law enforcement should follow the practice of servant leadership. Public service requires a conscious choice to ensure you’re always putting people first, serving others, and encouraging personal and professional growth.”


What advice do you give to young public safety officers?


“Find the best and most challenging professional development courses to expand your mind, learn new skills, and get out of your comfort zone. Seek out long-term opportunities like an accredited leadership academy to supplement your law enforcement training.”


How can lawmakers best support campus public safety officials? [In particular, is there anything beyond funding?]


“Avoid duplicate legislation on the local, state, and federal levels. Additionally, recognize that our campuses have just as many diverse facilities that could be potential targets as major population centers. Ensure the proper resources and lines of communications to keep them safe are always readily available.”


You have been a city council member. Do you have tips for campus safety officials collaborating with local city leadership?


“Don’t assume they know our profession. Work with your Marketing and Communications professionals on ways to inform local elected officials on the value of how your campus public safety team supplements city resources.”


What about tips for making the transition from municipal to university public safety administration?


“Don’t make the transition if you want an easy retirement job. Campus law enforcement has professionalized over the years through regulatory control and high-profile incidents. Go in with an open mind and be ready to contribute.”


What new tactic or innovation do you hope to bring to your department?


“A stronger and more meaningful approach to community policing -- one that focuses on our values and mission and is backed by a dynamic long-term strategic plan.”


Is there a professional article or book that you would recommend?


“Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. It underscores the importance of paying attention to the smallest things to make the biggest impact.”


What advice do you give to parents sending their children off to college?


“Take a long, deep breath. Being a father of two girls, I find myself empathizing a lot. When they go off to college, I may just move to campus with them, so I may not always be the best one to give advice in this area. However, I will ensure our team at IU will do its best to keep everyone safe.”


What do you do on Big 10 game days? 


“Coming from Butler (Big East) I had to change out my game-day attire. Now with all my new IU gear, I plan to work with my public safety team at every major home sporting event while cheering on the Hoosiers.”

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