After a year-long search process, the University Police Department recently named acting Director of Special Services Patricia Brennan to the post permanently.
Brennan will officially become the director effective August 15.
"Pat Brennan brings extensive experience dealing with sensitive crimes and victims issues to this most critical position," Vice President for Public Safety Thomas Seamon said in a press release.
The search for a permanent director had been ongoing since last summer. University officials have said in the past that the search continued for months because they wanted to ultimately find the best candidate for the job.
Brennan has been filling the position in an interim capacity since last summer, when then-director of the department Susan Hawkins stepped down after structual reorganization within the department. Brennan continued to work in the detective's department as well, but will step down from her post in the department to concentrate full-time on Special Services.
"I'll get to spend a lot more time on initiative projects and being proactive," Brennan said. "It's a nice change."
According to Brennan, this past year she has been more reactive and less proactive than she would like because she was dividing her time between investigative work and the Special Services department.
In her upcoming time as Special Services Director, Brennan said she is optimistic about coordinating programs with other Penn departments.
"I'm really looking forward to working with the Women's Center, VPUL, CAPS," she said. "I'm also excited to work with STARR."
As director, Brennan oversees assisting the victims of sensitive crime, such as rape, domestic abuse and sexual assault.
"Even though they don't like what's going on, having them know and understand makes the crisis a little easier to deal with," Brennan explained of the department.
Her duties also include developing programs in crime prevention, safety education, community outreach and victims services.
Brennan also noted that she wanted to develop outreach programs and encourage people to report these sensitive crimes to the police, adding that they were "vastly underreported." She also said she wanted to help students understand that when a crime of a sensitive nature is reported to the police they are "guaranteed confidentiality."
The length of the search has upset some members of the campus community, with several continually demanding that Penn name a permanent director.
Brennan came to Penn in 1996 as a senior investigator. She served with the Philadelphia Police Department's Homicide Unit for nine years before coming to the University.
Special Services was formed in 1970 after many demanded protection and support in the wake of several attacks on women on campus.Comments powered by Disqus
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