Over the winter break, Charles Furgal departed from Wheaton, vacating his position as director of Public Safety. For the time being, Jackie Michalowski will take over as the interim director.
However, the reason for Furgal’s departure is something that the Public Safety office has declined to share. After a twelve-year tenure as the director of Public Safety, Furgal’s presence here at Wheaton will be sorely missed. Furgal has moved on to become the director of Public Safety at Massachusetts Bay Community College. His impact on the operations and staff members of Public Safety at Wheaton seemed to be a positive one. “Chuck Furgal has left Wheaton College but his legacy will live on,” said Michalowski. She also explained that Furgal played a large role in the community during his time at Wheaton: “He fostered professional, positive relationships with community members. He was hardworking and always available to provide assistance to those in need.”
According to the staff of Public Safety, Furgal was very successful primarily because he believed that teamwork and cohesiveness among officers were important factors in terms of keeping the campus community safe. Because of this approach, Furgal caused many perceptible changes over the years. “He was able to permanently place the parking lot cameras [outside], and he added card access to the buildings on campus,” Michalowski said. “He added the bike patrol unit in order to produce high visibility of officers on campus. He was instrumental in providing security to the large-scale campus events at Wheaton’s Commencement and other popular campus events.”
Despite Furgal’s departure, Public Safety simply can’t afford to come to a standstill and nor is that its intention. Michalowski will be taking over as the interim director until someone is officially hired for the position. Michalowski said that she was both “excited and honored” to hold this position at Wheaton. The Public Safety office declined to comment on how the new hiring process will take place. Brian Douglas, the Vice President of Finance and Administration, was put in charge of the hiring process for Furgal’s successor. Douglas said that he has formed a search committee comprised of both faculty and students to help find a new Public Safety director.
“Among the characteristics we will be seeking are a demonstrated ability to reach out to and engage with a diverse community, and strong evidence of public safety leadership in a campus context or a similar environment,” Douglas said. Douglas also speculated that Furgal’s departure might have occurred so that Furgal could work at a college
closer to his home. Furgal’s leadership abilities will certainly be missed, but according to the Public Safety officers, there are still more than enough responsible leaders and supervisors to keep the operations running as smoothly as ever.
“Each officer and dispatcher is a valued and trusted member of our community here at Wheaton College. I strongly believe they are doing their best at their jobs,” Michalowski said. “We will continue to work together as a team,” she added.