Public Safety Recognizes Exemplary Service

On Friday, March 9, Public Safety held its annual Promotion, Awards, and Recognition ceremony. Vice President James F. McShane recognized 30 members of the department for perfect attendance, and 14 team members who earned promotions. 

March 23, 2018

photos courtesy of Eileen Barroso/Columbia University

In his speech to attendees, McShane said, “These promotions are especially gratifying to me because they clearly demonstrate the existence of a career path within the department of Public Safety.” 

McShane added his gratitude to those honored for attendance: “Each of these honorees, through his or her steady performance, has displayed a deep commitment to our values of pride, professionalism and service.”

The event, in the Low Memorial Library Faculty Room, included a full house of spectators and guests from across the University. A special NYPD guest, Deputy Inspector Flerida Veras, deputy commanding officer of the 26th Precinct, also joined, in recognition of the police department’s partnership with Public Safety.

Executive Vice President David Greenberg of Facilities and Operations sent his best wishes and congratulations to the Public Safety team. “Your daily pride, professionalism and service is a big part of what makes Columbia a special place for our students, faculty and staff, and enables Columbia to be one of the greatest institutions of higher education in the world,” Greenberg said. “It is a privilege to work with you all.”

Security Officer Emmanuel Asante received the Ricardo Morales Crime Prevention Award, for his outstanding performance and perfect attendance during his seven years as a Public Safety officer. Asante, who had worked as a contract security officer before joining Public Safety, has earned Security Officer of the Month four times since he became a uniformed member of the department, and has helped apprehend several crime suspects. 

In presenting Asante’s award, Ricky Morales, Assistant Director of Crime Prevention Programs at Public Safety, cited Asante’s commitment and powers of persuasion. 

“He is a dedicated member of our Crime Prevention team, with the ability to get people to buy into our effective programs not only during our events but while assigned to our normal duties,” Morales said. “He has this special gift of listening and remembering every conversation he has had with our students, faculty and staff. He uses this gift to make people feel welcomed, safe, and assuring people that Public Safety is there for them if they ever need us. He does all this while making sure that our department’s rules and procedures are followed, treating people with dignity and respect.”

Public Safety also recognized members of the Columbia community for exceptional service, including Fermin Carino-Ortega of Faculty House, dental student Ryan Chaliff (2018), Columbia College student Kira LeBron (2018), and Anne Waters, special projects advisor for Facilities and Operations. 

Carino-Ortega and Chaliff each recognized different burglary suspects from Clery Alert notifications, and took swift action to notify Public Safety—leading to arrests by the NYPD in both cases. 

LeBron, who has been with Public Safety as a student worker for all four years of her time at Columbia College, helped the department by re-structuring the student aide schedules, making them more efficient. She also managed training and instructions for new student aides. In presenting her award, Albert Becker, Public Safety executive director for finance and administration, cited her exceptional skills.

“She demonstrates outstanding leadership abilities in her role,” Becker said. “It is clear that she has an extremely bright future ahead of her.”

Waters was honored for her partnership and professional contributions to the department. “Anne has been a tremendous friend to Public Safety,” Becker said. “She is always available to provide sound guidance and honest feedback. She is truly looking out for the best interest of her colleagues and the University.”

McShane closed the ceremony with gratitude to the Columbia community and to the honorees, saying: “Our success results, in large part, from the cooperation and support that we receive from the community we serve. … I thank each of you for all of your support in the past and I ask for your support in the days ahead, as we continue our efforts to maintain a safe and open community.”