New Female Security Officer Brings Corrections Experience to Campus

River Sterne

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Photo by Emily Volpert

Newly hired Security Officer Linley HaneyNixon brings years of corrections experience to campus. HaneyNixon is one of the newest members of Whitman Campus Security and currently the only female officer. She is the first woman to be a security officer on campus since Safety Coordinator Kathy Rogers served more than 10 years ago.

Before she took the campus security position, HaneyNixon spent 16 years in corrections, working at the Washington State Penitentiary, McNeil Island Corrections Center, Airway Heights Corrections Center and Tacoma Pre-Release. Her substantial background in correctional occupations makes HaneyNixon more than qualified for her new job on campus, and she plans on using knowledge gained from her years of security experience to improve campus security.

“When I walk into a situation, I walk into a situation with the mindset that I’m going to resolve it, and because I come in with the mindset that I’m going to resolve it, it gets resolved. It’s simply that easy,” said HaneyNixon.

On Whitman’s campus there have only been three female officers in recent history, including HaneyNixon. According to Security Officer Gabe Kiefel, this ratio is indicative of the gender breakdown of the security profession outside of Whitman as well.

“If you look at security across the board in any university or corrections, it’s strongly and primarily male-driven,” said Kiefel.  “Part of that is probably due to personalities that go with security.”

Kiefel acknowledges that historically, security or law-enforcement-type jobs are heavily male-centric, but believes that there are many benefits to having a female security officer on staff.

“There are definitely advantages that can be had when you have a group of people of both genders,” said Kiefel. “And those women who decide to go into security tend to do very well because they bring a different point of view than men.”

According to Director of Security Matt Stroe, his experience has taught him that having a female officer on the team allows security to deal with a wider variety of situations in a more beneficial manner.

“Based on the career I came from, where it was the sheriff’s office, it was nice to have a female staff there in case there was an issue when a female was the victim,” said Stroe.

Before being hired, HaneyNixon applied to other jobs in order to move away from corrections; she was delighted to be hired on to the Whitman staff.  

“Whitman is a fantastic place,” said HaneyNixon. “And I thought I’ll look into different jobs, and this is the one that accepted me, so I was real happy and everyone has been so nice.”

The security staff has expressed excitement in working with HaneyNixon. Stroe is looking forward to developing a strong, long-term security staff with HaneyNixon involved.

“I think she’s going to be a great employee here,” said Stroe. “I think she really likes the atmosphere and really wants to be part of the Whitman College family, and she wants to retire here.”

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