Bernard Gerst

Bernard Gerst

Colonel Bernard "Bernie" Gerst, a Towson alumnus, began his work as Towson University's Director of Public Safety in 2001. With him, he brought almost twenty three years of experience from the Baltimore County Police Department, which he used to develop Towson University's security protocols and practices.  

During his seventeen years as the head of the Office of Public Safety, he oversaw the creation of new emergency phones on campus, a Traffic Safety Campaign, Operation KeepSafe, the Public Safety building, safety awareness videos, Towson University Safety Day, the Walk Safe initiative, the SaferMobility app, Project Unity Day, programs like CRASE (Citizen Response to Active Shooter Events) and MAKE IT, an emergency text alert system, and more.  

Under his leadership, Towson University has been recognized  as one of the safest college campuses at state and national levels, having some of the lowest crime statistics for a college or university in the state of Maryland. In 2016, the TUPD was the first police department at a four-year institution in Maryland to receive accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Agencies (IACLEA) and the Commission on the Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). That same year, the TUPD released Unified Crime Reporting statistics that showed a thirty seven percent crime decrease over the course of a year (since 2015) and an eighty eight percent crime decrease over the course of twenty one years (since 1999).  

After the recognition of these achievements, Colonel Gerst made a point to emphasize that, “the whole story isn’t about crime statistics. The whole story is about how safe you feel on campus…. We try not to just deal with crime but we like to try to deal with fear of crime.” 

Colonel Gerst retired from Towson University on July 1, 2018.


This wiki entry was created in collaboration with Ava Barnes, a summer 2024 intern in Towson University’s Special Collections and University Archives department, and student at Notre Dame Preparatory high school in Towson, Maryland. If you have feedback on the content, please contact us through email (