After 30 years of working to keep students safe, Department of Public Safety director Todd Sigler is retiring Oct. 15.
Sigler’s retirement was announced Sept. 9 as part of SIU’s state of the university address. He has worked for the department for more than three decades, starting out as a student patrolman in 1983 and moving his way up. As director, Sigler has dealt with multiple safety concerns at the university including a bomb threat to the residential towers.
He said he is retiring because the time is right and he has other goals to accomplish.
“I feel this is a good time for myself, the department and the university,” he said. “I have interest in pursuing other professional goals. The department is stable and the university is moving in a positive direction so I think the time is appropriate for all.”
In his time as director, he said the university has taken steps to increase preparations and plans for disasters and emergency responses Sigler said. The department has laid a solid foundation with partners such as university housing to increase safety for students and will continue to build off that success.
Campus safety has changed over time because of the increase of various types of threats and the need to prepare for them, Sigler said.
“In many respects, campus safety is a reflection of society generally,” he said. “More is expected from campus safety from all-hazard preparedness, technology such as surveillance cameras, controlled access, emergency alerts, and being prepared for many different types of emergencies.”
Chancellor Rita Cheng said Sigler will be missed at the university, but she thinks an adequate replacement has been found.
“I think we’ve had some terrific planning done by everyone and while we’ll miss Todd and we really appreciate his many years of service. I believe we have a very competent replacement coming in,” she said.
Cheng said the university has known about Sigler’s plans to retire and has found a replacement who will come Oct. 6 and work with Sigler in his last week. She said Sigler will be replaced with Benjamin Newman, a member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department.
D.P.S. staff members said Sigler will leave behind a legacy and a standard for future members of the department to meet.
Kendall Hollister, D.P.S.’s first shift supervisor, said Sigler helped push the department to be the best it can over the years.
“He’s one of those guys who expects a lot, but he expects a lot from himself as well,” he said. “He knows what the mission of the university is and what we need to get accomplished and how that fits with law enforcement, and he’s able to get that relayed to us so we can do an effective job for the university.”
John Allan, all-hazards preparedness resource coordinator, said he has known Sigler since college and has watched him achieve a lot throughout his career.
“He’s done so much, not just as a chief but as a sergeant, a lieutenant, a captain and a policeman,” he said. “His accomplishments, they’ll be long-standing, they’ll be here many years after he’s gone.”