Campus Safety Staff

Director of Campus Safety

Donald DePass, Director of Campus Safety, Hartwick CollegeDonald DePass was appointed Director in January 2021. Prior to coming to Hartwick, Donald completed a successful 26-year career in law enforcement with the New York State Police. He retired with the rank of Major. During Donald’s tenure with the New York State Police, he was a certified instructor in Defensive Tactics, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Drug Recognition Expert, NYSP Rules and Regulations, and Racial Profiling and Cultural Sensitivity. Donald also previously worked as a Sergeant at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Economics from Oneonta State and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Marist College.

Assistant Director of Campus Safety

Mike EnnistMike Ennist was appointed Assistant Director in June 2020 after working in Campus Safety as a Shift Supervisor and Safety Officer since 2015. Prior to coming to Hartwick, Mike completed a successful 22-year career in law enforcement with the Town of Shandaken Police Department and Ulster County Sheriff’s Department. He currently is a part-time officer with Colchester PD. He is a trained Title IX Investigator and has received extensive training in handling mental health issues, dating and domestic violence and is a certified instructor in Rapid Deployment for Critical Incidents.

Campus Safety Officers

Dominic “Nic” Brent is a native of Oneonta, NY, who started his career with Hartwick in 1972 as a groundsman before leaving for a career as a firefighter. He worked part-time from 1991 to 1999 and then returned as a full-time Campus Safety Officer in January 2008. Nic’s prior work experience includes 33 years as a firefighter with the Oneonta Fire Department, and many years as a part-time instructor for the American Red Cross and the New York State Department of Health. He also has been serving as the Health and Safety Director for the Cooperstown All Star Village baseball camp. Nic holds numerous instructor certificates including rehabilitation after MCI’s; American Heart Association First Aid and CPR instructor; and Child Abuse and Neglect instructor for teachers, police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. He also is certified by the New York State Fire Academy to instruct in Hazardous Material and MCI, practical skills, EMT, Fire Safety for Children, and AEMTCE, and is licensed as a New York State security officer.

Jack Cerar

Jack Cerar is a native of Long Island, NY who now lives in Otego, NY with his wife and five daughters. He has worked at Hartwick College since May 2013. He was a former New York City police officer for eight years, and then transferred to Nassau County Police Department and worked 18 years in that department before retiring in March of 2012.

Bert Tobiason, a native of Freeport, NY, has been serving Hartwick since December 2006. Prior to coming to Hartwick, Bert had a 20-year career with the New York City Police Department, working in the East NY section of Brooklyn. He is a graduate of Freeport High School and NYC Police Academy. Bert has held certifications as a Firearms Instructor in the Firearms and Tactics section of NYPD. He has had training in Street Narcotics Enforcement, Mounted Horsemanship Training, and is CPR and AED certified.

Steve Tate began working at Hartwick in 2017. He is retired from the US Air Force where he received extensive emergency management experience. He lives in Laurens, NY and is the parent of a 2018 Hartwick graduate.

Ben Smith returned to Hartwick in 2019 after serving from 2012 until 2017. Ben served as a Campus Safety Officer and then as a Supervisor for over three years on the night shift.  Ben previously worked at Utica College and Colgate University before joining the Hartwick staff.  Ben is a retired NYC Police Officer who served all of his 20 years on the street and in uniform. He completed his last 10 and a half years on patrol serving the public and responding to 911 calls in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY.  Ben retired in 2009 in good standing with the NYPD and had zero substantiated complaints in his successful and fulfilling 20 year career helping people.

Earnest Cawley is a per-diem Campus Safety Officer who began working at Hartwick in 2011. Off-campus, he is the Officer-in-Charge of the Town of Colchester Police Department, Downsville, NY.

Barry Tobiason is a per-diem Campus Safety Officer who began working at Hartwick in 2006.  Before coming to Hartwick, Barry was a member of the New York City Police Department stationed in Brooklyn he retired with 20 years of service in 2004.

Merwis Askerzadah, was assigned as a Campus Safety Officer in March 2018. He graduated from Hartwick College with honors, as a member of Phi Theta Kappa in 2018, with a Bachelor degree in Sociology, including a minor in Legal Studies, that required him to conduct field work in Oneonta city court and also attend and participate in an Albany law school class. Merwis also holds an Associate’s Degree with high honors in Criminal Justice from Tompkins Cortland Community College.  Merwis graduated at the top of his class in both of his degree programs. He was selected as an honor student at both Hartwick College and Tompkins Cortland Community College. He is presently finishing his coaching certification at Hartwick College. He was a part time police officer for the village of Walton and was a New York State Correction Officer. Merwis is a certified New York State Security Guard.


Campus Safety Senior Dispatcher

Tammy Sweeney has been serving Hartwick College since 2003, starting as a part-timer in the Copy Center and working her way up to her present position as the Senior Dispatcher and supervisor of the mail room’s student workers. Tammy’s prior work experience includes management positions in restaurants as well as owning her own diner for four years. She graduated from South Kortright Central School and from Utica School of Commerce with a degree in administrative assistantship.

Campus Safety Dispatchers

Dispatcher Kelly Barr started as a full-time dispatcher in 2015 after a long career in customer-service related positions. This experience prepared Kelly to handle a variety of personalities and circumstances in a successful and efficient manner.

Adam MartinDispatcher Adam Martin has been serving Hartwick College since August 2006. Adam has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Herkimer County Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Utica College of Syracuse University. Adam has an internship with the Utica Criminal Court System.

Dispatcher Barbra Willsey is a native of Oneonta, NY, and has been serving Hartwick College since 1998. Barbra came to Hartwick from Oneonta Answering Service, where she was also employed as a dispatcher. She has completed all necessary departmental training courses and is certified in NYALERT and FEMA Incident Command Training for Higher Education.