DSS Recognizes Extraordinary Service


The Department of Safety and Security (DSS) turned the corner on its first year by formally recognizing twelve individuals for their extraordinary service to safety and security at UVA.  Awardees were selected from within the department and from among community partners in the region.  

Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Gloria Graham kicked off the awards ceremony by recognizing members’ teamwork. When the University combined safety operations in 2018, she said, the intention was to enhance synergy, collaboration and support. Today DSS comprises Clery Compliance and Youth Protection, Emergency Management, Threat Assessment, Safety and Security Technology, and Police. “We continue to build a holistic department,” said Graham. “We support each other. We rely on each other – not only when things are going smoothly, but even more when they’re not.”     

Graham thanked DSS members for making the sacrifices necessary to keep our community safe day in and day out because “emergencies don’t schedule themselves.” 

These are the award recipients:

  • Lifesaving MedalDean Dotts, (Police Officer), pictured with AVP and Chief Sutton and Deputy Chief Fielding.  Dotts was first on the scene to respond and administer CRP to a person found unresponsive and without a pulse at the Emmet/Ivy Garage. Within minutes, Dotts and rescue personnel were able to revive the patient through CPR. The patient was transported to the ER with a pulse and breathing. The UVA physician who later treated the patient credited Dotts with saving a human life.
  • Meritorious Service MedalJackie Johnson (Security Officer). The most tenured member of UPD, with more than 41 years of service to UVA, Johnson was recognized for his sustained level of superior performance and his positive outlook.
  • Police Officer of the Year Ben Rexrode (Police Sergeant). Cited for his community involvement and teamwork, Rexrode is well known as the instructor for student self-defense classes. He leads “coffee and cookies with the cops” during exam weeks, and maintains a high level of engagement with the community.
  • Police Employees of the Year – Miranda Butler (IT Supervisor) recognized as the “backbone of the UPD IT department” and Anthony Frazier (Security Staff Sergeant) for building an unparalled relationship across the university and in the Medical Center.
  • Security Officer of the Year – Nicholas Bumgardner (Security Sergeant) for consistent focus on making the Medical Center a safer environment to work in.
  • DSS Employee of the Year – Paulette Turner (Business and Finance Manager) for reorganizing and managing DSS finances and overseeing department-wide initiatives.
  • Community Partner Awards –
    • Marsh Pattie (Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs) for authoring a policy that better aligns providing safety and security resources to students.
    • Ava Specials (Nursing Supervisor UVA Medical Center) for helping to protect her fellow nurses and medical center community by creating awareness of the dangers medical professionals face in their workday.
    • Brian Williams (Associate Professor of Public Policy, Batten Institute) for service in the deputy chief selection process and bringing police administrators to his classroom.
  • Emergency Communications Officer Award – Taylor Ashley (ECC Supervisor) for anticipating the needs of fire and emergency personnel and intercepting 911 calls during the NCAA Final Four Championship weekend.
  • Emergency Preparedness & Response Award – Jeremy Harris (Emergency Notification Systems Analyst) for being a solid partner to emergency management and commitment to emergency communications including UVA Alerts, digital signage, and desktop notification platforms.

Employees recognized for promotion were Melissa Fielding to Deputy Chief, Matthew McBee to Lieutenant, Cody Oliver to Lieutenant, Ann Marie Bell to Security Sergeant, and Nikara Feasey to Security Corporal.  

Retiree Lt. Maryann Gritmon was thanked for 33 years of service, and Captain Don McGee for 35 years.