Five Questions with Campus Safety Director Frederick Smith

Smith recently joined the Gustavus community after serving across the country in a variety of law enforcement roles and settings.
Posted on February 16th, 2021 by

Frederick Smith joined the Gustavus Adolphus College community in late January after the successful conclusion of the College’s national search for the next Director of Campus Safety. Smith, who lived in Arizona previously and was welcomed to Minnesota with a blizzard and 10 days of subzero weather, sat down to answer a few questions about his journey to the Minnesota River Valley, what he’s seen so far, and his dreams for the role moving forward.

Gustavus: Can you tell us a little bit about your path to Gustavus?

Smith: I was born and raised in New York City and got my first job in law enforcement as an officer with the New York City Police Department. I walked a foot patrol in Queens for the NYPD for a few years before moving on to a variety of law enforcement jobs in different capacities. My career has taken me from New York City to Iowa, California, and Arizona. Most recently I served as the Chief of Police for the Hualapai Tribe in northwestern Arizona. What attracted me to Gustavus was the College’s commitment to its core values.

Gustavus: What are your first impressions now that you’ve spent a few weeks on campus?

Smith: Coming here, what really excited me was the opportunity to impact the lives of students and help them make their dreams come true. Like I said earlier, the College’s core values of excellence, community, justice, service and faith really stood out, as did the commitment to diversity. In my first few weeks here, I’ve been impressed by how the campus has such a community-oriented culture. Gustavus is a very welcoming place—it already feels like a family.

Gustavus: What are some of your big-picture goals for the Department of Campus Safety?

Smith: The most important thing to me is to build relationships with students, faculty, staff, and parents right away. In terms of other big picture goals, I think my main job as director is to support the campus safety officers in their day-to-day work—to make sure they have what they need to protect our community in a safe, efficient, and responsible way. Our job is all about service to the community, and we want everyone who interacts with our department to feel like they received assistance in the spirit of customer service.

I’m also meeting with our local leaders, police department, and fire department. I want to build on the strong relationships that are already in place here in the Saint Peter community.

Gustavus: How do you hope to engage with the students in your role as Director of Campus Safety?

Smith: Once COVID is under control, you’ll see me out walking the campus and having lunch in the cafeteria. I really value face-to-face interactions and getting to know people at a human level. It’s very important for me and the Campus Safety officers to be visible, approachable, and engaged in the community. I want to have conversations with students, talk to them about their experiences at Gustavus and their goals for the future. Then, I hope to help them reach those goals however I can be of service.

Gustavus: What is one piece of advice that you would give to Gustavus students?

Smith: Take some time to listen and learn, then develop a vision for what you want to do in life. Never give up on that vision. Dream big and be dedicated. Believe in it, work hard, and you can achieve it.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Neal Hagberg says:

    Welcome to campus, Frederick! Looking forward to working with you.