Name: Gary Jeynes
Years of experience: 35 (30 at Humber)
Occupation: Director of Public Safety, Humber College

Q. How did you get started in your industry?

A. I pursued a career in public safety because I have a strong personal interest in community relations and serving others. Prior to arriving at Humber 30 years ago, I worked for Massey Ferguson and Canada Post in their safety and security departments, where I learned and developed the skills and approach necessary to oversee a successful public safety department.

Describe the ideal qualities a person should have to succeed in your industry?

The primary role of Humber’s public safety department is to ensure a safe campus environment for students, staff, faculty and visitors.

We achieve our goal because our team has excellent communication skills, is able to relate to a diverse population and has the ability to react to a wide variety of situations on a moment’s notice. Being decisive and empathetic is critical, as all decisions are made in the best interest of the people we serve. Due to the fast-paced nature and unpredictability of the work, it is also important to be organized, flexible and a good multi-tasker.

Developing relationships with community leaders and local police services is also important. As past chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers, I have maintained close ties with Toronto Police Service, with whom Humber has a strong working relationship.

What kind of background, either educational or other, best suits someone starting out in your industry?

Training in justice studies or security-related courses is vital. Many people working in public safety have earned a diploma or degree in a related field. Public safety professionals must also possess broader knowledge of the managerial and organizational components of public service. They must also have a deeper understanding of how domestic and worldwide issues impact organizations both internally and from the public's perspective.

Additional education, such as risk assessment training and conflict management, will also benefit someone starting out in this industry.

What do you like most about your job?

I like that every day is different and that there is never a dull moment. The industry is constantly changing and I have ongoing opportunities to learn about new equipment or security methods. Interacting with and serving students on a daily basis is also a high point of my job. At Humber, working with staff and students means that we have 20,000 pairs of eyes on campus every day. If anyone sees and reports a potential incident, the Department of Public Safety can effectively act on it.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of your industry?

While it’s easy to stay current with new technology, the hard part is effectively implementing new systems while maintaining best practices and seamless public safety services. Humber has introduced new and improved many public safety measures including: state-of-the-art digital fire alarm and public address systems, a closed circuit television system that monitors the entire campus, security cameras monitored 24/7, and interior and exterior emergency phones with direct communication to security staff, among many other features, programs and equipment.

For newcomers to the industry, what tips would you offer them?

Research the industry as much as possible and get a variety of perspectives. A great way is to talk to people who work in the field so that you can become familiar with what they do and their experiences. Ask industry professionals about the future of the industry, and for any referrals or connections they may have. It is important to make an informed decision to see if this career option will meet your personal and professional goals.

What kind of local associations/organizations/volun­teer activities would you recommend?

There are many organizations such as Crime Stoppers within the local community that are always looking for volunteers. Associations such as the Ontario Association of Colleges and University Security Administrators (OACUSA) and local police divisions are also good sources for volunteer opportunities and general information.