Background Check: Campus Safety Officers Bring Varied Experience to Keene State
Keene State College not only attracts an interesting and diverse faculty and student body, but has added several members to its campus safety force with unusual backgrounds. This past fall, the College welcomed Mike Miskell, who served during Operation Freedom in Afghanistan; David McLean, a 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department; and Michelle Gamache, who served as a corrections officer before running her own in-home day care for six years, to campus.
“We’re pleased to have David, Michael, and Melissa as part of the Campus Safety team. Their varied backgrounds provide strengths that complement each other and the talents we already have in the department,” said Amanda Guthorn, the Director of Campus Safety at Keene State.
Originally from Portsmouth, NH, Miskell joined the military on a dare. Assigned to the 101st Field Artillery regiment, the oldest field artillery regiment in the US Army, Miskell was deployed to Afghanistan in Jan. 2010. Returning home, Miskell worked as a corrections and safety officer before coming to Keene. Miskell said his military and corrections background prepared him well to handle stressful situations. “There isn’t much I will come across here that’s going to stress me out and make me overreact or make a poor decision,” he said.
A native of East Williston, NY, McLean saw it all as a NYC police officer. He was a member of the force during the 9-11 terrorist attacks. “It was interesting to see how the city pulled together after that happened,” McLean said.
Gamache knew she wanted to be in law enforcement at an early age. After working as a correctional officer at the Franklin County (MA) Sheriff’s Office, the Easthampton, MA, native took an abrupt turn in her career. With a growing family, she started a daycare program in her home. “It was like going from big kids to little kids,” she said with a laugh.
All three newcomers are looking forward to working at Keene State and building a strong and positive rapport with the students. “Even though I’m older than the students, I think I can relate to them quite a bit,” said Miskell, who wants to take classes and become either a drug and alcohol or youth counselor. “I want to get involved and be a part of the Keene State community.”
“I would like to get to know the students and help them,” Gamache added. “As a mom it’s important for the kids to feel safe here and be able to come and talk to us if something is wrong.”
An outdoor enthusiast, McLean says he feels fortunate to escape New York City. “There’s a lot of tension and everyone is on edge down there he said. “This is a totally different environment. I’m learning new stuff every day, and I love that.”