Shelly Castaneda, former Chief Deputy of the Kern County Sheriff’s office, accepted the executive director of college safety position at Bakersfield College on Feb.6, according to an email sent to the Bakersfield College community. Castaneda interviewed for the position on Feb. 2 at the Levan Center.
Castaneda spoke in front of a hiring committee and explained how she would carry out her responsibilities as the newly appointed leader. She also shared what changes she would make to the department to best serve the Bakersfield College campus, students, staff and visitors.
Castaneda was born and raised in Bakersfield and is a Bakersfield College alumna. She received a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration from CSUB.
She said coming back to serve the college campus that started her college career would be a full-circle moment.
Castaneda said she always felt safe at BC. Although she retired three years ago, she said she will use her 28 years of experience to lead the department by example and will be the professional she wants her team to be.
“Model for your people what you want,” she said.
Castaneda also said she can elevate BC’s good foundation for public safety by structuring the department in a way that will focus on communication first.
With good communication skills, Castaneda said that public safety officers will not need to be armed. With top training, parameters, procedures, and proper communication skills, officers will be able to de-escalate a situation and avoid any need for any physical force.
As executive director of college safety, Castaneda said she would create the most effective department by being clear about what the campus objectives are in terms of safety and making policies that would reflect what the campus needs and wants.
According to Castaneda, the campus is evolving and the only way to stay in tune with the goals and objectives of the campus is to be progressive and adapt by engaging with the people that the department serves. That includes face-to-face communication.
Castaneda said she wouldn’t want people to have to wait for an appointment to bring up their concerns and vowed to keep her door open.
“It is my privilege to talk to you,” she said.
Castaneda also made it clear that her priority is the student population’s well-being. With proper training, she said officers would use discretion and common sense to take care of a situation in a way that gets rid of the problem, but while also sending the right message to students.
Castaneda made it clear that students are her priority and no matter what happens, she will work to solve a problem at any time or date.
“I see myself as a shepherd for this campus,” she said.