Next to ensuring the safety of the campus community, improving communication between the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the campus is a top priority for Ted Baran, DPS’ new director. He is confident that his 12 years of experience in law enforcement, combined with his lifelong ties to the deaf community and being a native signer, will help ensure that this goal is met.

Baran, who joined DPS on April 26, 2011,  is a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf-certified interpreter with 12 years of experience in law enforcement, including four years as director of campus safety for the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in West Hartford, Conn., the nation’s oldest school for deaf people. ASD played a big role in Baran’s life over the years. He was raised near West Hartford, and both of his parents are ASD alumni. Coincidentally, his wife of 17 years, Paula, is also an interpreter and the child of deaf parents–both ASD alumni, as well.

One of Baran’s first jobs was as a resident advisor for ASD, but a personal calling for protecting public safety led him to other career ambitions. Growing up, Baran said he was “always attracted to police work,” and many of his friends were officers for the West Hartford Police Department. He decided to join the department, and worked as an officer for seven years. He went back to ASD when the school’s former executive director, Harvey Corson, offered him the campus safety director’s position. Baran said he enjoyed the job, but he missed police work, so after several years he took a job as an officer for the nearby town of Vernon, Conn.

When Baran recently learned from his sister, Stephanie Deja, an interpreter with Gallaudet Interpreting Service, that the University was seeking a director for DPS, he was eager to apply. “I feel that my background in deafness, in management, and in police work offered me a perfect opportunity to bring all my skills together,” he said. He feels that his new position “is the pinnacle of my career.”

Baran said he is committed to maintaining a positive relationship between DPS and the campus community. He feels that one way to ensure this is to cultivate an open dialogue between DPS officers and the people who live, work, and study on Kendall Green. “I want every member of the community to know that they are always free to come and talk to me about their concerns,” said Baran, adding, “I think my culture and language background will facilitate that.” He plans to be a familiar face around campus by attending as many activities as possible. He also wants to set up ongoing dialogues with various campus organizations, and already has plans to meet with representatives of the Student Body Government and Graduate Student Association.

Hiring more deaf staff at DPS and developing programs to involve more student workers is another objective Baran has to cultivate a good rapport with the campus. Currently, he is working with his staff on improving communication, and helping enlighten hearing officers about deaf culture. He is also establishing contacts with the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Police Department (MPD). Baran said he is particularly impressed with the city police department’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit, because it is an outreach service to the deaf community that not many cities offer, and he looks forward to enhancing the positive relationship that DPS has with the MPD unit.

In his spare time, Baran enjoys running, and he is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. The Barans have two daughters, Brooksley, 15, and Brenna, 12.

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