Sgt. Sara Holzmeier will take over as Department of Public Safety Director Sept. 1.
The previous director, Tom Johnson, left the department last May, and the University searched for a replacement until approximately two weeks ago when Holzmeier was hired. DPS Assisstant Director Chad Whittom, served as the Interim Director until Holzmeier took on the position Sept. 1.
Holzmeier says she became interested in the position following a long career in law enforcement. She says she worked for the Kirksville Police Department for 16 years. For nine of those years, she says she served as the school resources officer for Kirksville Public Schools. Holzmeier says a year and a half ago she left KPD to join DPS as a sergeant.
Holzmeier says her community policing experience will make her a good director. She says she is a Missouri law enforcement instructor and serves as the Kirksville Police Academy coordinator, a peace officer standards and training certified instructor, and an ALICE instructor. Holzmeier says ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. This program is designed to teach schools how to handle an active shooter situation. Holzmeier says she also has supervisory experience from serving as a KPD corporal and a DPS sergeant.
“I plan to lead by example and not ask any of my law enforcement officers to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. I look forward to working with the staff and the students to make [Truman] a safer place, and a place everyone wants to come to.”
– Sgt. Sara Holzmeier
Holzmeier says she thinks it is important to run crime prevention programs, work with other organizations to prevent crime, and be involved in community policing to meet the needs of the staff and students the department works with. She says she thinks it is important for the department to be able to plan, organize and direct campus events.
Holzmeier says she doesn’t foresee making many changes to the department. However, she says she hopes to increase the department’s officer retention rate. She says the department is currently short -staffed and her goal is to recruit and retain more officers.
“Things run pretty smoothly,” Holzmeier says. “We have a good group of officers that are committed to safety here on campus and I feel pretty good about that.”