McDaniel College holds a special place in Eric Immler’s heart.
He met his spouse there, first and foremost, and was captain of campus safety before embarking on a 15-year career in law enforcement and public safety. Immler has served on the Manchester and Westminster police forces and was most recently chief of the department of campus safety at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills.
But effective Oct. 1, Immler has come home: he’s the new McDaniel College Director of Campus Safety.
The Times recently caught up with Chief Immler to learn more about what brought him back to town and what the job entails.
Q: This is something of a homecoming for you, as you have been an officer with the McDaniel campus safety team before. How does it feel to be coming back to campus? Anything you missed?
A: I am looking forward to building upon my previous role as deputy chief in the department at McDaniel and my experience leading the campus safety department at Garrison Forest. I am also thrilled to be working with my colleagues both in Campus Safety and other departments at McDaniel to continue working together for a safe campus.
Q: You’ve been a police officer in Westminster and Manchester, as well as working on other school campuses. How did your previous time spent at McDaniel inform or affect your later career roles, and what lessons have you learned in your time away you feel will be helpful in this new role at McDaniel?
A: My career has always circled back to McDaniel. I have been able to utilize the relationships and experience that I built working at other police departments, which have been a valuable resource for me and the college. In my former position, my experience at McDaniel helped prepare me to grow and enhance that department and the safety of the campus there.
A: Campus safety is a collaborative effort at McDaniel and my department works in partnership with students, faculty and staff to maintain a secure campus environment. In the college environment, Campus Safety Officers take on the role as non-traditional educators. We must continue to work to create positive interactions and build relationships with all members of our community, both on and off campus.
Q: Campus-town relations can often be complicated in college towns. What should people in Westminster, and on campus, know about how campus safety’s role in keeping everyone getting along?
A: McDaniel’s Department of Campus Safety works closely with the Westminster Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies regarding issues and concerns that might affect the college. Our presence and physical location on Pennsylvania Avenue has also assisted the department with being accessible to both the campus and community at large.
Q: Are there any projects, plans are initiatives that you would like to undertake as the new head of campus safety?
A: In the short term, my focus is on reviewing and updating our policies and procedures. I am also making sure that our officers have the most up-to-date training available in the wide range of responsibilities that we have from law updates and regulatory compliance to resources we can provide to the campus community.
Q: The softball: What are your favorite things about McDaniel and the surrounding community?
A: McDaniel has become my professional home. All of my experience at other police agencies has had positive impact on my career path which has always brought me back here. Also I’ve truly made a special connection to McDaniel, it’s the place I met my wife, my daughter has grown up in this environment and I’ve met some of my best friends through the College. Since I grew up in Westminster and graduated from Westminster High School, I regularly run into colleagues, friends and family members who live and work in the area.