Detective Capt. Tom Stofer, commander of the investigation section, said he thinks Dawson’s appointment to chief of police was a great move for Auburn.
“He’s well connected to the community,” Stofer said. “This is his hometown or his backyard, so to speak. He’s worked with the students, protecting them for years, and now he’s in the position to make a difference and make some changes. You’ll see things happen for the better as far as student safety.”
Dawson has served with the City of Auburn Police Department for 23 years and became chief of police May 23.
Dawson is an Auburn native.
Dawson said he wants to make sure Auburn students know they are valuable to his department and as part of the Auburn community.
“I really want to reach out to our student population,” Dawson said. “If you need something from us, my office is always open.”
With his new position, Dawson said he hopes to build rapport with Auburn students.
He said he also seeks to establish a relationship of mutual trust and confidence.
“Auburn students’ parents should feel very safe and secure to know that our police chief is Tommy Dawson,” said SGA President Kurt Sasser. “I know that he will work hard every day and night to look at ways to continue to improve student safety and also to make sure that every student feels as safe as possible.”
Dawson has spoken with Sasser about ways to interact with Auburn students.
“We’d really like to start some new educational programs to keep our students safer,” Dawson said, such as self-defense classes for women, which are already offered at Auburn.
The SGA Senate will also partner with Dawson’s department in the annual Campus Safety Walk this fall, during which every safety light on campus will be checked.
A date for the Campus Safety Walk has not yet been set.
“I hope that, of course, we build on the solid foundation that we currently have,” said Charles Duggan, Auburn city manager. “I believe we have excellent officers who are well-trained and well-disciplined in carrying out the job of protecting the public.”
Duggan also encourages safety awareness and education among students.
“Anything we can do to heighten people’s awareness that they have to take some personal accountability in their safety is beneficial and important,” Duggan said.
“I know Chief Dawson gets that, and he understands. While we need to be out there, visible, so people know they’re safe and protected, there won’t always be an officer,” Duggan said.
Duggan said he is confident in Dawson’s ability to provide safety for Auburn residents and the community alike.
“I want this department to be considered the best, and we can do that by reducing crime and instilling confidence,” Dawson said.