Former St. Mary’s County Sheriff David Zylak has been selected as the Director of Public Safety of St. Mary’s College of Maryland after a national search process. Zylak, who has been serving as interim director for six months, manages a staff of 15 and is responsible for the safety and security of 2,000 students and nearly 600 staff and faculty.
“Dave comes to us after many years of experience in the county’s Sheriff’s Office and the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Safety,” said Laura Bayless, vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “As the interim director, he has opened up communications with students, and his connections and knowledge of the county particularly served us well this fall through Hurricane Irene and all phases of the mold situation.”
Originally from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Zylak graduated from Penn State University with a degree in forest technology. He worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a forest ranger until going to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in 1983. Over the next 24 years, he worked his way up the ranks and in 2002 was elected sheriff and served until 2006. In 2007, he was hired as the director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Safety, where he was responsible for the 911 Center, emergency management, animal control, and was a liaison with the fire departments, rescue squads, and advance life support.
Zylak has completed the FBI – Law Enforcement Executive Development Program, the Maryland Training Commission Executive Leadership Program, and the National Sheriff’s Association Executive Level program.
He is a member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and serves on the county Board of Education’s Safety and Security Committee. In his free time, he is learning to play guitar, plays golf, and rides motorcycles.