I worked for 22 years with the United States Secret Service. I was going to graduate school at the time here at University of Baltimore and one of the students there was a Secret Service agent. The Secret Service intrigued me because they have dual responsibilities: They have protection, and they have criminal investigation. So, I applied.
They check you out from the day you were born to your current whereabouts. They go to every place that you lived, and they talk to the neighbors—so get along with your neighbors! They go to all your jobs. They check all your references: if you show up on time, if you get along with people, what's your work ethic. It took me a little over seven months for the process, and that's considered quick.
I came in when Reagan was President. Actually, we really did get sunglasses. I've still got them. They're at home. They never told you what you had to wear, but you knew.
There's never a typical day with the Secret Service. One day you can be doing an investigation, and the next day they send you out to be part of a protection detail for a foreign dignitary—or, you travel with the President.
In 1990, I was assigned to George Herbert Walker Bush. The President's protected 24-7. You work shift work and rotate every two weeks. You are either with the President or you're on an advanced team setting up security arrangements. You're gone a minimum of 50 percent of your time because the President travels. Somebody's got to be with him. I've traveled the world at least twice probably.
You really don't speak to the President unless he speaks to you. Both George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton were very outgoing and liked to communicate, so it wasn't unusual to have conversations with them.
Bill Clinton was obviously more outgoing. He'd be great for a neighbor. He loves to talk. But they were both people persons. They had different styles. They would really go into conversations about you, and that shows something: They were interested. And Bill Clinton had a great memory, too. If he remembered you once, he'd probably remember you again.
Yes, I had to go jogging with the President. When President Clinton first came into office, he used to just run out of the White House. But, after a short period of time, we determined we better set up some routes, so I set up six different running routes averaging between three and five miles.
I left the Secret Service in 2005. When I retired there was nothing official saying you could not talk about it, other than if it was a conversation that was secret or top secret—but that goes without saying. You really have to respect their privacy. You're with them 24-7. Some things are just made to be private.
What made me decide to get out of the Secret Service? This position. I provide security for the Homewood campus. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but a great opportunity.
When I started, I had two sons in college. They were both in urban environments. I had the same safety concerns as the parents here at Hopkins. So I basically set up the same security that I would want for my sons.
One of the things I brought here was my belief in partnerships. I use campus police officers, AlliedBarton security, off-duty Baltimore City Police officers, student monitors, as well as neighborhood security groups, because we're all looking for the same thing, which is a safe and secure neighborhood.
Failure is not an option. I have a meeting every morning at 8:30 a.m. with my command staff to go over everything that happened in the previous 24 hours to see if there was anything we could have done better. If there is, we make adjustments.
[Regarding the recent student protests at UC Davis] I'm apolitical. We're at a university. You're supposed to be able to express your opinion here and not have to worry, especially if you're not disrupting anything or destroying any property. I am sensitive to the amount of force necessary. A lot of times, you need to set up things so you can limit the amount of problems and give people the freedom they need to voice their opinions.
We had Karl Rove here. There was a demonstration outside that was a mix of students and individuals from Occupy Baltimore. They had signed up to protest out front. We knew it was there. It was orderly. It went very well. But they came inside and they wanted to voice their dissatisfaction with Karl Rove. Some of them had to be forcibly removed. Some of them practiced passive resistance. They would just go limp on you, which was good because our whole thing is to use the least amount of force possible. Even though they were very rowdy, they left—for the most part—of their own volition. We had to remove about 15 people.
You could tell the majority of students didn't like it because the students would get up and move so that we could come and remove the protesters. That just shows you the cooperation there. They didn't appreciate it either.