Meet Jeff Favreau, the College’s new public safety chief
Jeff Favreau, the new director of Public Safety and Emergency Operations at Saint Michael’s College starting Monday, October 17, brings nearly two decades of relevant experience in Vermont law enforcement with South Burlington and University of Vermont Police, much of it focused on working with young people and, later, supervising officers.
In announcing the hiring of Favreau, Dawn Ellinwood, Saint Michael’s vice president of student affairs and dean of students, said, “I very much look forward to working with Jeff and witnessing how his extensive experience will impact our students, Public Safety staff and our campus overall.”
Following is a Q&A with Jeff Favreau about his new role with the Saint Michael’s community:
Can you share a bit about your earlier life and law enforcement career, and how those experiences led to your interest in this public safety position at Saint Michael’s College?
Favreau: My career in law enforcement started back in 2004 when I graduated from Westfield State University in Massachusetts, the state where I had lived most of my life up to that point. I was hired by the South Burlington, Vermont, Police Department in July 2004 and I worked with them until 2017. From 2013-2017, I had the privilege of working as a School Resource Officer in the district stationed mainly at Tuttle Middle School and Rice High School. These years as an SRO were the most formative years of my career in South Burlington. I was able to work closely with the students, staff and facility of both schools and develop strong relationships with those communities. My time as an SRO was incredibly rewarding and would have a huge impact on how I would view the role of law enforcement in the future.
As my time as an SRO was coming to an end, I became aware of an opening for a supervisory position at the University of Vermont Police Department and I was later hired as a Sergeant in 2017. It was my time at UVM that really exposed me to administrative procedure and how to successfully supervise officers and manage operations in a collegiate environment. I am extremely grateful for everything I learned at UVM Police and the experiences I had there were incredibly valuable in shaping my views on leadership and management.
When I learned of the need for a Director of Public Safety at Saint Michael’s, I was eager to not only bring my 18-plus years of law enforcement operations and management experience to the department, but I also was eager to get back to a smaller community where I could connect with the students, staff and faculty like I’d done during my time as an SRO. I look forward to bringing these skills to the officers of Public Safety and the Saint Michael’s community.
Talk a bit about your priorities and philosophy as public safety director at St. Mike’s: What would you like faculty/staff and students to know about you and how you go about your work? What might be the same or different from your predecessors’ approach? Have you had a chance for any helpful conversations with any past directors?
Favreau: I have two main priorities as I begin as the Director of Public Safety: First, to maintain and strengthen Saint Michael’s College Public Safety’s commitment to Service, Community and Respect by ensuring we are delivering the quality of service the Saint Michael’s community deserves. Second, to invite the College community to be more involved in how Public Safety operates on campus. As Director, I will be very invested in soliciting the thoughts of the Saint Michael’s community to help guide myself and my team so the services we are providing to them align with their needs, and to keep us informed if we could do better. Professionalism and accountability are the goal as Public Safety continues to serve the community as best we can. Additionally, I have spoken with former Director Doug Babcock who has provided some great advice and has made himself available to me in the future.
What do you hope to bring to the Saint Michael’s College community?
Favreau: Along with my experience, I hope to bring an infusion of new ideas and practices. Sometimes the way it has always been done may not be the best way. Sometimes it has always been done that way because it is the best way. I am looking forward to learning everything about Saint Michael’s College Public Safety from going out on patrol with my officers during night shifts to digging through policy and procedure to become an expert on department operations. I feel that being immersed in SMC Public Safety will be the only way to know how to lead it properly.
What challenges are you expecting to face, and how do you plan to address those challenges?
Favreau: Coming from the world of law enforcement, I know all too well the problems every department in Vermont and across the country faces when it comes to recruiting good candidates for hire. I expect the world of public safety to be no different. However, it is my belief that well-trained officers who do their jobs professionally will result in good applicants being drawn to our department. I developed much of South Burlington PD’s social media presence during my time there and I will bring these skills to bear at SMC Public Safety.
What opportunities are you excited about in this new role?
Favreau: At this point, I am just excited to get started. I haven’t worked in Public Safety since my time as a Student Public Safety Officer at Westfield State. There will be a lot to learn, and I will be diving right in my first day.
Given how much this job involves working with young people, talk about your experiences working with students in the past?
Favreau: I have spent four years as an SRO in South Burlington and five and a half working on the UVM campus, so my entire work life for almost 10 years has involved engaging with young people. During the interview process for this position, I had a “working lunch” with a group of students who had lots of engaging questions for me; this was the highlight of my day. That is the type of engagement I loved as an SRO and the types of interactions I will be encouraging my staff to engage in. These types of conversations with students, the casual conversations you happen upon as you walk around campus, create meaningful and positive impacts on the community.
What else might our community be interested in knowing about you?
Favreau: My wife Megan and I have been married for 15 years and we live in South Burlington with our two daughters Lily (10 years old) and Emma (6 years old). We are big hikers, skiers and we just started to get into paddle boarding. We have a dog Moxie and a cat Martin