In the early days of the State Normal School at Kirksville campus
security received no mention in school records or histories.
However, this changed on Saturday, December 1, 1901, when John R. Kirk,
the school's fifth president, appointed John J. Jack the chief
custodian. John Jack served the school in this position for
the next thirty five years. The duties of the chief
custodian were mainly the maintenance of the building and the campus,
but sometimes doing this required enforcement of rules and regulations.
As the campus continued to grow there became a need for a heavier
concentration on the security needs of the students. On July 1, 1952,
the Division of Maintenance Services was established and Howard Morris
was named as the director. The positions of chief of the security
patrol, head of engineering, head custodian, head gardener, and
landscape architect were created. Dick Newman was appointed chief of
security with a six man security patrol.
The 1960's brought a time of great unrest at colleges and universities
throughout the nation. In June 1970, because of threats to the
president's house, Northeast Missouri State University announced the
establishment of the Office of Safety and Security. Charles Campbell,
Dean of Administration, named Olin E. Johnson as acting director. The
security patrol consisted of five officers, commissioned by the
Kirksville Police Department, and three non-commissioned night watchmen.
In the spring of 1971, the first student employee, Ron Curren, was
hired. The student employment section became known as the honor guard and
later grew to a staff of twelve, all junior and senior law enforcement
majors, who shared most of the duties of the regular patrol officers.
In June of 1971, Leslie "Jake" Greiner was appointed as the first
director of Safety and Security. Offices for personnel were moved from the
physical plant building to the old Baptist Student Union, located on the
present site of McClain Hall. The department's mission, "...to develop
operational plans for a total program of campus safety", was set.
The department was assigned an official patrol car and also utilized a
mounted patrol. A Tennessee Walking horse named "Hal's Prince" was cared for
by students and stabled in the Red Barn. The mounted patrol was used for
security functions at events such as football games and parades until about
In June of 1975, Perry Eichor was named the second director of Safety
and Security. The offices were moved across Franklin Street to their present
location, a converted house purchased by the school.
Olin "Swede" Johnson joined the department in 1965 as patrolman and
later served as interim director. In 1977, Olin E. Johnson became the third
director of Safety and Security. The department boasted three patrol
officers, two watchmen, a secretary and a student staff.
In 1985, Kirksville Police Department stopped commissioning Safety and
Olin Johnson retired in 1987; a four-year interim followed. During this
time the department was under the supervision of: Zel Eaton, Assistant Dean
of Students, and later John Jepson, Budget Director, became the acting
On August 8, 1991, Lisa Sprague became the fourth director of Safety and
Lisa Sprague became Truman's Security Director in 1991. By August of
1992 the department had changed its name to the The Department of Public
Safety. Officer standards were raised and the importance of training was
The department became a commissioned sworn police department in 1994.
The department grew to eight full time officers, an assistant director,
a parking coordinator, and ten student auxiliary employees. A state
transportation driver was added to the staff in 1998.
Community policing concepts remains a top priority. Bike patrol,
community liaisons, victim services, and implementation of crime prevention
programs are all important aspects of the Department of Public Safety.
Public Safety has continued to create and improve services. These
services include things such as safety festivals, simulated mock
emergencies, escort services, crime prevention programs such as Fatal
Vision, Personal Safety, Driving Alone, Alcohol, and Rape Awareness or
Director Sprague resigned effective May 9, 2003.
Thomas R. Johnson began his duties on September 2, 2003.