New head of security wants to build relationships

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

Newman has a new security director who has taken over the position left vacant when Morris Floyd left the university before school started. 

After months of the Smart Security team running all campus security, former Wichita Police Department officer Steve Patton is taking over the head job. 

Patton, who spent 25 years with WPD and served as a lieutenant, said he wanted to work at Newman because he liked the opportunity it presented to teach others.

“I like to help them improve and get better at what they’ve chosen to do for a living…” Patton said. 

Patton said he spent his time at WPD doing various jobs, such as working as a patrol officer, working in different areas as a detective, and being on call as a member of the bomb squad for 10 years. 

After retiring from the police department, he said, he spent a few years in private security. He was the security manager for all four Ascension Via Christi hospitals in Wichita for a year, and he also worked for a short time at the WSU Tech campus. It was while he was at WSU Tech that he decided to come to Newman.

Patton said that his time in the private sector has really helped him understand more about this line of work, which he says is different from police work.

“I’m glad that I got that under my belt before coming here because I understand a little bit more about what is expected of security in the private sector,” Patton said. 

While working for Ascension Via Christi, Patton frequently taught active shooter training, which is knowledge he said could serve him well at Newman. He said he wants to take his time to learn more about Newman’s policies and procedures and then review what kind of training may be needed, such as active shooter training. Patton also said he wants to make sure that the Smart Security employees working nights and weekends for the university are trained well and effectively. 

What’s most important to Patton, he said, is that he’s visible to students, faculty and staff. 

“I want everyone to recognize me, and I want to recognize them,” Patton said. “So as I go around the campus and meet people, especially the faculty and staff, I plan on doing some additional training with them.” 

Patton said he was aware of students’ concerns regarding the safety of campus but noted that protecting campus primarily depends on situational awareness. 

“People being aware of who belongs here and who doesn’t, and if something doesn’t seem right, call us,” Patton said. “People can’t hesitate to call… Always trust your gut. It’s rarely wrong.”

Patton encourages people to let security know if they see anything and follow the “see something, say something” rule. He said calling 911 first and then calling security if it is a dire situation is the best practice since it will take longer for police response. 

Security’s number is 316-942-4291 ext. 2911, and someone is always available.

“You’re not bothering us,” Patton said. “It’s what we’re here for.”

PHOTO: Sydney Endicott, Photographer