Statement from SMU President R. Gerald Turner on SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers

SMU released the following statement from President R. Gerald Turner on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016:


SMU Police Officer Mark McCullersToday it was confirmed that the body of missing SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers was located Wednesday in Dallas. As our community grieves this profound loss, we are deeply grateful to those who searched for Officer McCullers since he was swept away by Turtle Creek floodwaters July 5 while working off-duty as a private security guard at a Highland Park construction site. The search teams’ efforts now have brought comfort and relief to his many loved ones and friends.

We continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers Officer McCullers’ wife, Tiffany, and six children. Officer McCullers was a beloved member of our University community, a skilled and dedicated officer and a proud U.S. Marine veteran. He served as a member of the SMU Police Department Patrol Division since February 2015. As was noted at his July 28 memorial service at McFarlin Auditorium, Mark was passionate about sharing his knowledge of personal security with students and other campus community members.

We thank the many heroic men and women who searched in difficult conditions for Officer McCullers, including members of the Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Dallas Fire-Rescue, the Dallas Police Department, University Park Police Department and Texas Parks & Wildlife.

I also want to extend profound thanks to SMU Police Chief Richard Shafer and all members of the SMU Police Department. As many of you know, SMU Police Department officers and staff served tirelessly and gave selflessly of their time and skills since search efforts began. At the same time, they continued to serve and protect our campus community, demonstrating an extraordinary level of professionalism and dedication.

Chief Shafer asked that I forward the following statement from him: “I am proud of the SMU Police Department for their continued efforts to find Officer McCullers. They never gave up. They supported and aided other agencies throughout the search, and they provided care and support to Mark’s family. It was fitting that Officer McCullers was found by his SMU Patrol Sergeant, Keith McCain. We all are grateful he is coming home.”

If you are not already aware, the McCullers family has established the Officer Mark McCullers Memorial Account. Donations may be made at any Wells Fargo bank to account number 9976436577, or online on PayPal at www.paypal.me/OfficerMarkMcCullers.

For SMU staff, faculty or family members who are in need of confidential support or resources, please contact the SMU Employee Assistance Program, which is offered through the Human Resources Department. Call 1-877-704-5696.

Students in need of confidential support or resources may contact SMU Counseling Services, 214-768-2277. The SMU Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502, also is available to provide confidential support to campus community members.

Thank you to those across North Texas and around the country who have sent their prayers to our community. They have supported us through this time and will continue to do so.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

2014 security and fire safety report for the SMU campuses now available online

The following message from SMU President R. Gerald Turner was sent to students, faculty and staff on October 1, 2014:

Dear members of the SMU community:

SMU is committed to fostering a learning and working environment that supports health and safety. As part of that commitment, the SMU Police Department prepares and distributes an annual security report for the University’s main campus, the SMU-in-Plano campus and the SMU-in-Taos campus. This report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations also require that institutions issue an annual fire report, which is included in the security report.

The SMU report covers three calendar years, including incidents occurring on its campuses, at public areas adjacent to campuses and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms. Information also is gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico and University officials with significant responsibility for students and campus activities.

The report is available online at smu.edu/CleryReport. If you would like a paper copy of the University’s annual security and fire safety report, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail lindaperez@smu.edu.

In addition to security policies and crime statistics, the report contains information about programs and procedures for enhancing campus security and individual safety. These resources include emergency response plans and notification systems, blue-light emergency phones across campus that connect directly to SMU Police, campus-wide crime alerts, the Silent Witness Program for anonymous crime tips, and the SMU Police Security Escort Program, Giddy-Up and SMU Rides.

Many campus officials who support campus security are highlighted in this report. I urge you to know how to reach these officials and to participate in the education and training they provide throughout the year, including crime prevention programs offered by SMU Police and emergency drills coordinated by the Office of Risk Management.

Two serious health and safety issue at colleges and universities nationwide, including at SMU, are substance abuse and sexual misconduct. This report contains information about policies, reporting procedures, education and prevention initiatives, and resources available to help, including the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, SMU Police, the SMU Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, the Coordinator of Psychological Services for Women and Gender Issues, and the Women & LGBT Center. Information also is available online at smu.edu/LiveResponsibly.

All students, faculty and staff members play an important role in their own and our community’s well-being. Each of us is asked to be informed and aware, to respect all community members and to uphold high standards of behavior. Thank you for supporting our collective efforts to provide an exceptional academic environment in which all of us can do our best work.

Sincerely,

President R. Gerald Turner