Campus News

Office of Security Preparedness undergoes several significant changes

Opal Haley

UGA’s Office of Security Preparedness has undergone several significant changes designed to clarify its mission and better prepare the university to respond to large scale natural or man-made disasters.

On Dec. 15, 2005, the department was renamed the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness to more accurately reflect its overall responsibilities. During November, the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness relocated from the Chicopee Complex to the recently renovated Hodgson Oil Building.

“The proximity to the university’s police department, public affairs office and real estate and space management office provides the opportunity to collaborate more effectively with these critical units in the event of a large-scale emergency,” says Opal Haley, security and emergency preparedness director.

The new mailing address is: Office of Security and ­Emergency Preparedness; Hodgson Oil Building, Suite 200 South; 286 Oconee Street; Athens, GA 30602-4977.

Revisions to the department’s Web site ( are ongoing to better reflect the department’s expanded responsibilities. The departmental phone number (706.542.5845) and e-mail address ( remain unchanged.

In August, the vacant emergency operations manager’s position was restructured and reassigned from the Environmental Safety Division to the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness. Duties of the emergency operations manager include updating and testing the university’s basic emergency operations plan and development of departmental specific emergency plans. Steve Harris, who has served as the school safety unit manager with the Georgia Office of Homeland Security, Georgia Emergency Management Agency for the past six years, assumed the emergency operations manager position Jan. 13.

“Steve brings a wealth of experience related to emergency operations planning, security and risk assessments, exercise design and development, specialized training and incident response services,” says Haley.

The Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness facilitates quarterly training programs for faculty and staff. Additionally, the department schedules training classes upon request for student groups, departments and other UGA affiliates.