Ask any of the students at the University of Memphis who Bruce Harber is and they’re guaranteed to answer, but many have been unable to put a face to the name.
As Director of Police Services and Public Safety at the U of M, Harber is most known for his direct electronic contact with the student body, faculty and staff, whether it be for a safety concern or weather alert.
Harber’s responsibilities vary on campus, but he is widely known for being the “man behind the Tiger Texts,” the U of M’s emergency alert text messaging system, which he helped develop for the school in 2007.
His goal is to eliminate crime on campus and keep students up to date on safety.
“Here on campus we’re down over 10 percent. Surrounding areas are down 4.8 percent. The entire area is down 13.7 percent as a whole,” Harber said.
He added that new research has shown crime in the school’s parking lots on vehicles has gone down almost 75 percent in his 14 years on campus, which he credits to more of a police presence.
“When you consider that we have 10,000 parking spaces, which turn over a time and a half a day, our officers have done a tremendous job of keeping our students safe,” Harber said.
Harber, who moved to Memphis in the ninth grade, had an interest in public safety early on. He joined the Memphis Police Department’s cadet program right out of high school, which led him to seek a degree in the subject. He continued with the part-time program for two years while seeking his degree at the U of M.
He graduated from college in 1991 with a Bachelor of Professional Studies in police administration.
Harber worked for the Memphis Police Department for 25 years before beginning his work at the University in 2000 as the assistant director of Police Services. In January 2002, he was appointed as the new director of Police Services.
On top of his responsibilities on campus, Harber is studying for his master’s degree, which he hopes to finish by the end of the year.