Evans Named Lincoln University’s First Female Public Safety Director

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Lincoln University, Pa. - Interim President Richard Green named Ruth A. Evans as Lincoln University’s first female director of public safety on December 1.

Evans now oversees the second largest police force in Chester County with 14 sworn police officers, eight security officers, three sergeants, three corporals, a chief of police, and one program assistant.

“I love this University because this University loves me,” said Evans. “I am truly proud of this honor.”

A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, she was raised in North Philadelphia. Evans graduated from Ashworth College in Norcross, Georgia, with a degree in criminal justice. She attended the Delaware County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public safety.

She said her first priority is to increase the number of training sessions for officers in the areas of customer service, professionalism and emergency management. She plans to review policies and procedures with the goal of decreasing the department’s response time and campus alcohol and drug infractions.

Evans said she remains focused on the officers’ oath to “protect and serve,” which she interprets as helping students “leave with a college degree not a criminal record.” So, she plans to work with other campus units to lower the number of campus drug and alcohol infractions, among other types of violations.

She also encourages students to speak up for one another, and if they “see something, say something.”

“I always tell students, ‘if your classmate goes from being a straight-A student, cheerful, and neat and clean, to missing classes, withdrawn, and messy, tell someone’.”

Evans said she draws inspiration from a professional organization HBCU-Law Enforcement Executives and Administrators, or LEEA, which is a national organization of police chiefs, executives, and security directors that advance campus public safety for its students attending history black colleges. She currently serves as HBCU-LEEA’s national vice president.

A More Streamlined Department Organizational Structure

For several years, Evans and Captain James Connor have been sharing the title and roles of assistant director and police captain. In his announcement, Green cited the need “to establish a distinct reporting structure and chain of command in the department,” as the primary reason for the reorganization.

Under the new organizational structure, Evans leads the department and has her “hand in everything,” including fire safety, campus rounds, compliance with the federal Clery Act, hiring process as well as representing public safety’s public face at events, such as new student orientation, new employee orientation, and new student testing and registration days.

Connor, who now reports to Evans and serves as the chief of police, is responsible for the direct supervision of all University police officers.

Roots in Contract Security

Evans said her inherent awareness of her personal security and others led to her pursue of a public safety career.

“I was always aware of my surroundings, growing up in housing projects; I learned to recognize unsafe situations,” she explained. “Even now, when I’m in the grocery store, and I see a woman leave her purse in the cart and walk away, I’ll let her know her purse could be stolen and to keep it close.”

From 1986-89, Evans worked at a retail store, first as a cashier, but after saving the store thousands of dollars in theft prevention, her employer created a new position for her in loss prevention.

That new job awakened Evans’ natural abilities to identify criminal activity, which led to a position with Allied Barton, a contract security firm. During her 12-year tenure with Allied Barton, she managed the security contracts for 21 high-rise buildings in Center City Philadelphia and was honored with the title of Manager of the Year out of 504 managers. She also got her first taste of the college security experience, working on the campuses of Temple, Drexel, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Eventually, Lincoln University began a security contract with Allied Barton beginning in October 1999, and Evans, chosen out of eight candidates, was assigned to the campus. In addition, she began a three-year tenure as a residence hall coordinator, living in Cresson Hall in January 2000. While Lincoln’s security contract with Allied Barton ended in 2001, Evans remained on campus, as a Lincoln employee.

Evans has two sons and one granddaughter.

Article and photos by Shelley Mix, Office of Communications & Public Relations