Director of Safety and Security Ken Pacheco, who will retire in July, has been a well-known face around campus for 12 years.
You might recognize the native New Englander in his trademark Providence College vest, with dark sunglasses and a thick east coast accent buzzing around campus.
“He brought the experience of the beat cop to Clark, which is why you frequently saw him walking throughout campus being highly visible and accessible,” said Vice President of Administration Bob Williamson. “This helped establish a sense of safety and security.”
Pacheco spent 26 years with the Portland Police Bureau as a uniformed officer, internal investigator and sergeant with the vice and drugs division, prior to joining Clark in 2004.
Williamson, Pacheco’s supervisor for over seven years, said the director’s ability to handle tense situations, conduct thorough and fair investigations and defuse potential confrontations have played an important role at Clark.
Clark President Bob Knight recalled a time when a college staff member had been the victim of domestic abuse, and Pacheco spent hours with the college staffer, methodically explaining their legal options, all while remaining calm and professional.
“He’s always brought a calming demeanor to the campus,” Knight said.
Security and Safety Support Supervisor Lynn VanHoomissen, who’s worked at Clark since 2001 and was promoted by Pacheco five years ago, said Pacheco has always let the team do their job and make their own decisions.
“He’s never micro-managed, and he’s always had our backs,” VanHoomissen said.
VanHoomissen also credits Pacheco as being very influential in getting more officers hired. The number of security officers has tripled from three to nine since Pacheco was hired as director.
Pacheco said when he came on as director, the policy was to have one security guard on at night. If the officer became incapacitated, it could turn into a significant problem.
Pacheco, who earned a Bachelor in Political Science from Providence College in his home state of Rhode Island and a Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven in Connecticut, said he always wanted to be in law enforcement.
“It was something I always had an interest in,” Pacheco said. “I used to like to watch all of the crime shows: Adam-12, Dragnet and other shows like that.”
Pacheco said his cousin was an East Providence police officer, and his childhood best friend’s father was a state police officer.
Pacheco met his wife shortly after moving to Portland and joining the police force.
“She said I’ve barely lost my east coast accent,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco has three sons who are in their 20s, and one is a math teacher at Hudson’s Bay High School.
Pacheco wants to see more of the world after he retires.
“I’ve only been out of the country once, and that was Ontario, Canada,” Pacheco said.
He doesn’t know where he wants to travel to just yet. He does know he wants to finally use the fishing pole he bought five years ago.