After 15 years of service with the UTM community, Campus Police manager Len Paris retired in April.
Succeeding him is Robert Messacar.
Messacar spent 32 years serving the Peterborough Police before becoming the manager of police services at U of T’s Scarborough campus, where he worked since 2008. “When Paris retired, I thought it would be a great opportunity to come to Mississauga,” he said.
Messacar spoke about the difficulty of maintaining community partnerships within a university setting.
“One of the challenges that we face in an academic environment is that our community is always changing,” he said. “Most of the undergrad degrees are four-year programs, so we’re having a turnover of about 25% of our community members every year.”
Asked whether Campus Police would offer more services this year, Messacar said the department is always looking for ways to improve.
“At this point we don’t have concrete plans,” he said. “But we’re always looking for new opportunities.” He said that the department is always looking for ways to interact with the community, adding that they are currently in the process of signing up a team for Cure for Cancer.
As manager of the department, Messacar will be administrating the Campus Police department as well as participating in other campus committees. This year, he will be chairing the joint Health and Safety Committee.
While he called all three of U of T’s campuses “very safe communities” where the community is respectful, Messacar cautioned that risks are always present on campus.
“We’re certainly not immune to influences that occur everywhere in the world. […] Safety is a shared responsibility and the Campus Police can’t be everywhere all the time. So we really do depend on our community to be our eyes and ears and to tell us if they have any concerns so that we can deal with those concerns,” he said.
Messacar, who studied public administration at Ryerson before being trained as a police officer, officially began his appointment on July 14.