Meet a Tiger: Lt. Chris Harrington
While most people run from danger, members of the Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) run toward it because their purpose is to keep campus safe. This CUPD lieutenant attended Clemson as a student and stayed because he believed he was meant to be here for something beyond a degree. As Campus Safety Month continues, we talked to one of the officers who keeps our campus safe. Meet Chris Harrington.
Years at Clemson: 11 years (15 if you count my undergraduate time)
What I do at Clemson: I serve the CUPD as its training manager and recruitment coordinator. I oversee the training programs for all of the university’s certified police officers as well as seek out and recruit new talent to fill vacancies in the agency with the best possible candidates. I am a state-certified instructor in many different law enforcement specialties, mostly notably serving as the department’s lead firearms instructor and Active Shooter response instructor. Training is one of the most important components of the law enforcement profession. We are constantly evolving and seeking out new ways to grow and be successful in our mission to serve and protect the community. This requires an ongoing commitment to best practices and obtaining the highest levels of training possible. Admiral William H. McRaven once said “If you want to change the world you must be your very best in the darkest moment.”
What I love about Clemson: I have always found it difficult to quantify this. I grew up in Clarendon County and came here for my undergrad and believed I was meant to be here for something beyond a degree. The phrase “there’s something in these hills” is certainly true for me. When I speak of home I will always think of the place I grew up, but Clemson is the place I have felt led to serve. I just believe that when Clemson gets in your heart, it calls to you.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: This is a hard one because I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many worthwhile projects and teams at Clemson. If I had to choose it would be a tie between the CUPD/Residential Living Housing Liaison Program and the Active Shooter Preparedness Educational Campaign I’ve been doing for the past year. The liaison program began in 2007. I was fortunate to be selected to participate in the program since it began. Through our partnership with Residential Living, we have seen some really great programs and community relationships develop. I was subsequently asked to head this program for CUPD for several years. In 2013, we won the Division of Student Affairs Team of the Year award.
The educational campaign I’ve been doing on the topic of Active Shooter Preparedness has been really well received. Since the beginning of the 2015 fall semester, I have presented the program more than 50 times to over 2,000 participants throughout the university. The program focuses on the national preparedness model of “Run, Hide, Fight” and the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training program. We discuss historical concepts and trends along with awareness and preparedness level topics. The program is designed to help our community evolve away from the culture of fear surrounding these events, toward a culture of empowerment. The goal is for our students, faculty and staff to leave with the tools and emotional strengths to prepare them to take an active role in their safety no matter the circumstances they encounter. We are all in this together and need each other to succeed.
Where I see myself in five years: A piece of scripture that has always held a special meaning for me is Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.’” I believe in purpose in life and that when we seek it with our heart and not our ambitions we can hear our calling. I believe that I have been called to serve. In five years, my desire is to continue to be blessed enough to fulfill that purpose to the best of my ability in whatever place I am most needed.
Last thing I watched on TV: Forged in Fire. I like shows where people make things with their hands. Just not the DIY Network, my wife doesn’t need more things to put on my “to do” list.
Guilty pleasure: I usually wake up several times during the night (maybe from all the years working night shift) and I typically keep Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the refrigerator for just those occasions. My wife and friends make fun of me about it, and my daughter gets mad that I eat all of them.
One thing most people don’t know about me: All of my friends and family already know this, but I enjoy carpentry work. I love to build things. My father is in commercial construction and he taught me carpentry from an early age. I was fortunate to learn from him and other master carpenters when working for him during my summers off from school and college. Now I build rustic farmhouse style tables and other similar furniture in my spare time.
Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at email@example.com.