Bagsby new campus safety assistant director

Bobby Bagsby

Robert "Bobby" Bagsby / Marc Studer photo

By Douglas Esser
Taking the job of assistant director of campus safety at the University of Washington Bothell / Cascadia College campus was a kind of homecoming for Robert “Bobby” Bagsby.

Bagsby is a University of Washington graduate (sociology ’96) who spent his first nine years in law enforcement as a commissioned officer with the UW Police Department in Seattle. In his 20-year career, he also has worked at other police departments, most recently in Renton, before returning to the UW in March with the UW Bothell / Cascadia College campus position. Bagsby and his family also are Bothell residents.

“I’m vested in the community,” he said.

Bagsby’s time at the UW in Seattle overlapped with Campus Safety Director Cham Kao, who was a sergeant on the UW campus before coming to UW Bothell in 2014. Kao says Bagsby is a valuable addition.

“He understands the college setting and the needs of the institution,” Kao said. “He also understands the culture and climate, student life and academic needs.”

As assistant director, Bagsby is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Office of Campus Safety, which has 10 officers and four dispatchers providing 24/7 coverage for UW Bothell and Cascadia College.

Bagsby said his immediate job is to create a positive work culture with a well-trained team that lets the campus community know this is a safe atmosphere in which to learn and grow as a person.
Making it a priority to be both open and accessible, Bagsby is making plans to meet with student groups on campus. Campus Safety also plans to set up a table on the Promenade on a regular basis to meet people and answer questions. It is critical that his team work to identify the various needs and concerns of students, faculty and staff, he said.

While Bagsby wasn’t thinking of a career in law enforcement when he was a college student, he believes his degree in sociology was good preparation.

“I’d say 70 percent of what I did as a commissioned officer related to social norms and how people interact with each other,” he said.

Bagsby started with part-time hourly guard work on the Seattle campus on the graveyard shift, the overnight hours where rookies pay their dues. After meeting officers and learning more about the force, he decided to become a commissioned officer. One of his more memorable experiences was when campus police assisted Seattle police officers during anti-globalization demonstrations at the World Trade Organization meeting in 1999.

Bagsby said he is always up for a challenge. “This is one I feel I’m equipped for — and I look forward to it.”


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