Keeping Dons safe is just one of the reasons Sergeant Ray Habon loves his role in USF’s Department of Public Safety. A member of the department since 2015, the Concord, Calif. native and married father of two also loves collaborating with the community he serves.
Lieutenant Kevin Dillon said, “Sgt. Ray Habon is an outstanding role model for the younger officers he supervises, and we are very fortunate to have him — and others like him — on our staff.” Below, Sgt. Habon shares some thoughts about the role of public safety at USF.
What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the collaborative aspects. The most challenging — yet rewarding — part of my job was being part of the Re-imagining Public Safety project and being a panelist on the Diversity of Campus Policing Forum. The process provided officers with race training and provided members of the entire USF community and our department a safe space to discuss difficult topics.
Can you describe what makes your job meaningful?
Once, I had to respond to a student in crisis at the University Center. I had no idea what to expect, because each call like this is completely different. When talking to the student, it appeared as if he needed to express himself, and he was on the verge of lashing out physically. So I listened. We talked for about an hour, in which I focused less on the incident that made him angry and more on how to work through the feeling. In the end, he told me he felt much better and was glad he called. One thing that I remember to this day is when he said "I never knew we were able to come up and talk to officers." Believe me — you can and we want you to!
What do you want students to know about campus safety?
The USF Department of Public Safety is not a separate entity — we are an active part of the campus community, and we want to work with you to make USF a safe learning environment. Our department is not solely responsible for campus safety; let’s see each other as equal partners in ensuring campus safety.
Do you have any advice for students?
Enjoy your time here! As for safety, be aware of your surroundings. Don't be fixated on your phone when walking through campus or crossing the street. Do not leave your items unattended.
What do you want students and families to know about life at USF?
Our department runs 24/7. The majority of the students who attend USF are far from home and family, and when life happens, we are the ones who respond. Our department takes on the role of guardian rather than warrior. Yes, our role as officers is primarily law enforcement, but it's multifaceted. There are times when the community requires us to serve as mediators, informal counselors, and parents. We take our mission of providing a safe learning, working, and living environment at the University of San Francisco seriously.