Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published April 02 2010
MSUM security honored for flood leadership
Michael Parks, who served as the university’s incident commander during last spring’s flood, was named campus security director of the year by Campus Safety magazine.
Parks returned to campus Thursday after accepting the award in Long Beach, Calif. The award recognizes the top safety and security administrators for hospitals, K-12 schools and universities.
President Edna Szymanski, who nominated Parks for the honor, said the other nine finalists were “pretty impressive looking.”
“He’s it for the entire country,” Szymanski said. “He’s the best.”
The magazine highlighted Parks’ leadership during the flood, which included overseeing a volunteer center, establishing an emergency call center and providing emergency housing.
Parks said during a news conference that he was honored to receive the award, but he shares credit with his staff and law enforcement partners.
“Just because the award has my name on it, there are many people who are deserving of it around here today,” Parks said.
Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger, who was on a committee that hired Parks in 2007, said Parks has established good relationships with city and county law enforcement.
Under state law, college campuses other than the University of Minnesota cannot employ sworn police officers, so the security departments work with local police, Ebinger said.
“Anytime we deal with Mike, he gives us a very informed, professional view of what his needs are and what he can bring to the table,” Ebinger said.
Under Parks’ leadership, MSUM was the first campus locally to implement an emergency notification system to alert the campus via text messages, e-mails and phone calls.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590