William Babb, who has been a part of the Virginia Tech Police Department (VTPD) for the past four and a half years, officially assumed Kevin Foust’s former role as Virginia Tech chief of police and director of security at a pinning ceremony Oct. 2.
In the midst of an initiative to unify the different security organizations on campus, former Virginia Tech Police Chief Foust has been given a position to oversee all these departments as the associate vice president for safety and security. Foust’s new position was created as a component of Senior Vice President Dwayne Pinkney’s plan to reorganize many of the university’s operations.
Pinkney said his vision is for different divisions to be able to easily share resources and for many bureaucratic barriers in the chain of university governance to be eliminated.
Previously, the VTPD, Virginia Tech Emergency Management, Virginia Tech Health and Safety and the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad were all independent entities. However, they now all have stronger access to collaboration, and they share the leadership of Foust.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Foust said. “I know what the VT Rescue Squad and police department do, but I’m not nearly as familiar with emergency management or health and safety. So, I’m getting caught up with each department’s day-to-day operations. After that, I want to let them soar and be successful because these three departments have excellent people working in them.”
Foust and Babb both describe their transition of roles as seamless. Babb expressed how it was especially helpful for the transition that there was no role of interim chief.
“Hopefully changes being made will be so seamless that they’ll go unnoticed by students and the community,” Foust said.
In addition, both Foust and Babb have personal goals that they plan to work toward within their new roles.
Foust explained his excitement for the potential the new technology has in aiding security and leveraging this to see what sort of upgrades may be available. He also mentioned the involvement of the department at the new Innovation Campus.
“I’m very excited about the Innovation Campus,” Foust said. “We’re going to play a big role in the safety and security that's going to happen up there.”
Moreover, Babb expressed the importance of maintaining strong ties to the community and giving people more direct access to the Virginia Tech police. He also brought up the priority of giving members of the VTPD opportunities for professional development.
“Because this is such a new thing, we’re going to look for some opportunities to make sure that our own officers are learning and growing,” Babb said.
Despite all the changes in positions and structure at Virginia Tech that went into effect Oct. 1, Foust and Babb affirmed their commitment to maintaining a safe and secure campus.
“My primary goal is that we maintain the same high standard of customer care on campus so that people can stay focused on studying and getting the full campus experience instead of worrying about safety and security,” Babb said.