Dean’s Corner: Meet Police Chief Michael Beckner

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Courtesy of Dr. Gabe Willis

Bridging the gap between the Division for Student Affairs and the numerous departments and offices across campus can be difficult to accomplish. After all, we are all busy doing our best to serve our amazing students. To help achieve this and enhance relationships we created the Dean’s Corner. The goal of the Dean’s Corner is not only to bridge the gap between DSA and our awesome campus community but to also introduce new members of the Southeastern family and those who may have timely and needed information.

Let us clear the air right away, I am your Dean of Students. I am certainly not a reporter or expert writer. However, the platforms we have created through social media (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), are perfect avenues to accomplish the goals we have established for the Dean’s Corner.

Our first guest had not been on campus three days before he received an email from me requesting his participation in this brand-new idea called the Dean’s Corner. Chief Michael Beckner happily agreed, and I was able to sit down with him for a 30-minute interview over Zoom.

Dr. Gabe Willis, Dean of Students (Courtesy of Dr. Willis)

We immediately learned something unique about Chief Beckner. First, he simply likes to be called “Mike.” As you watch the interview, you will see I had difficulty with this. Chief Beckner also spent a considerable amount of time in Alaska before moving to Georgia and then to Louisiana. It is also interesting to note that Chief Beckner interviewed for the University Chief of Police position twice. Persistence and dedication truly paid off. As your Dean of Students, I can confidently say that we made the right decision. After being on campus for less than two-weeks, Chief Beckner has already: (1) revised the Mission statement and values of the University Police Department; (2) met with a number of key stakeholders across the university with several more meetings to go; (3) established a Police Advisory Board; and (4) communicated his commitment to a culture of visibility, transparency and integrity.

Michael Beckner, director of University Police Department (Courtesy of Dr. Willis)

We have a Chief of Police who is dedicated to building relationships with who I call “the best of Southeastern” which is our students. When asked about the stakeholders he wants to forge a relationship with right away he stated, “As the Chief of Police you have to understand the importance of building a relationship with students.”

All-in-all, Chief Beckner is a laid-back guy who loves to chill out at home while grilling ribs and watching sports, especially soccer. He is committed to having tough conversations about race relations, committed to meeting with stakeholders across campus and committed to ensuring our campus community is safe.

 

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To access the complete video, please visit my YouTube channel or access the interview on Instagram @dr_gabewillis.  Stay tuned for our next Dean’s corner featuring Mr. Curtis Meyers – Director of the Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability.

 

Dr. Gabe Willis

Dean of Students

 

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