William McHale, a law enforcement veteran who served with the Pennsylvania State Police for nearly three decades in areas ranging from emergency response to legislative affairs, joined Franklin & Marshall College Monday, Sept. 10, as the new director of public safety.
McHale, who most recently was major and director of the Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations with the state police, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Department of Public Safety, including about two dozen officers and staff members, and work to build on relationships with faculty, staff, students and community members. He also will manage and direct the campus Emergency Response & Crisis Management Plan, which governs how F&M responds to potential threats to the safety of the campus community.
"Bill brings a tremendous and wide range of experience to the College which, with his outgoing personality, will help us continue to provide high-quality safety and security services to the F&M community," said David Proulx, F&M's vice president for finance and administration, whose office oversees the public safety department.
McHale succeeds Michael Rossano, who served in the role for three years. Rossano shepherded F&M's efforts to become one of just four colleges and universities in Pennsylvania with state-accredited public safety departments. Accreditation marks the department's transition from a security operation to law enforcement agency and ensures the department follows best practices and procedures. Rossano was named executive director of public safety at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in August.
Among McHale's priorities is to build the department's focus on community policing and rigorous training and to make the public safety officers more visible to the campus and surrounding community, he said. He also plans to build on relationships with the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and Manheim Township Police. McHale brings to F&M the strong relationships he built with local police during his years with the state police.
"My goal is to provide the safest experience for students, faculty and staff, and for everyone who comes to campus," he said. "It is important that our officers have regular interactions with the campus community so that students, faculty and staff view us as an ally."
McHale joined the state police in 1984 and served there in a variety of roles in the Legislative Affairs Office, the Bureau of Drug Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, among other responsibilities.
He received his bachelor's degree in political science and history from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., and is pursuing his master's of administration and justice from Wilmington University in Delaware. Through the state police, he received training in areas such as accident investigation, hazardous device detection, mounted police patrol, aviation and the canine unit.
He said he was drawn to F&M because of the close-knit community, impressive facilities and the focus on the liberal arts.
"The first time I came to campus was in 1984, when the state troopers used to come here to work out," he said. "I love higher education and the small-school feel of F&M."