Staff Spotlight – Duane Lovello, director of security

September 16, 2019

Duane Lovello is always calm, extremely polite, and welcoming –no matter the situation. He often walks around campus interacting with his team and the Yale community while pinpointing any safety issues and possible improvements.

He and his team are responsible for managing all Yale security officers and 24/7/365 services such as: the central alarm station, multiple cultural properties alarm stations, and transit dispatch. In addition to patrolling the campus year long, security officers perform other services as needed, including handling lock-outs, and providing both walking escorts and safe rides. The Central Alarm Station fields calls for these services as well as for lost ID cards. The alarm stations monitors video, access control, intercom, and alarm systems for buildings, dormitories, and museums throughout campus.

Born and raised in Stamford, CT, Duane attended both parochial and public schools before obtaining his undergraduate degree at the University of New Haven. He also earned a law degree from the University of Connecticut. Then went on to pass the bar on his first try, but never practiced law. Prior to Yale, Duane had a lengthy career in law enforcement and was the chief of police in Darien, CT for 12 years before retiring. He’s a graduate of the FBI National Academy In Quantico, VA and was the former chairman of the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council.  Currently, he lives in Trumbull with his wife and youngest son, a college senior; their oldest son, a college graduate, works full-time and lives on his own.

What was your first job?         

When I was 16, I worked part-time after school shuttling cars for a family-owned Budget Rent-a-Car franchise in Stamford. I used to walk there after school. They really liked and trusted me so eventually, they let me take a car home at night so I didn’t have to walk to work. It was cool, at age 16, to have that trust, and some days I got to drive home and to school in really nice cars. My first full-time job was as a firefighter for the Glenbrook Fire Department in Stamford. I became a certified fire marshal while working there.

Favorite childhood memory?

I had a tremendous childhood. But if I had to pick something, it would be a family camping trip to Maine one summer. We visited Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain, and Mount Desert Island. We all had a great time; the scenery was unbelievable. Besides my parents, it was me and my three sisters, which at times proved interesting. It would have been great to have a wingman.

What are some of your hobbies?

I really enjoy working in the yard, cooking, reading, and listening to music. I’m a bit of a news junkie. I also play golf at least once a week – I am a well-established lousy golfer. I just finished reading Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney about leadership principles learned from the Jesuits throughout their lengthy history. They figured out long ago there are certain substantive things central to accomplishing any mission including the need to work with each other.  This book drives home what you need to be an effective leader.

What is your idea of a great weekend?

Working the in the yard, and then hanging out and doing something with friends and family. My wife and I really love going to New York City and taking in Broadway shows. We enjoy trying new restaurants and visiting some of Connecticut’s wineries. A recent weekend was absolutely perfect weather, so we walked all over Yale’s beautiful campus.

What was the best advice you’ve ever received?

Do the simple things. People notice, and it makes a difference. The other advice I’ve received is that you learn a lot more listening than you do talking. So, take time to develop talented people; surround yourself with them; listen to their ideas; let them run with them. Life will be a bit easier when we all work together for a common goal.

What is the biggest challenge today of working in Public Safety?

There’s a couple of things. With advances in technology moving at lightning speed, we need to make sure that the technologies we acquire will position us for greater efficiency. Some technologies bring about necessary discussions–what do we really need and what is over the top? It’s a balancing act, and we must consider various factors including, efficiencies we’d gain, long term costs, and overall benefits.  Also, we need to hire the best and continue with ongoing training. Yale is a world-class institution. People want to work here.  I know we’re committed to be the gold standard in Public Safety, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Words of wisdom for people just starting in their career?

In Public Safety, or in any career, always remain a student of the profession. Try to go home every day knowing something you didn’t know when you got to work. Don’t lose sight of the fact that what you do each day is important and matters to the people you work with and the people you help and serve.

If you weren’t working in public safety, what other job would you have?

I’ve always found architecture to be fascinating. I would have enjoyed being an architect or doing something in that field. In my former job, we built a new police station. I was always at the architect’s office talking about that project. I think being able to have that vision, from creating something on paper, to then collaborating with other people, and leaving a visual mark on a community or a family would be great.

If you could solve one world problem what would it be?

The problem right now, as I see it, is people in positions to effect change can’t even talk about problems, much less solve them without great disagreement and strife. I would hope that we could find some common purpose and acknowledge our ability to do great things collaboratively. We can agree to disagree, but we need to come together to solve problems. If not, we aren’t moving forward. We could all benefit from understanding different perspectives.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  We all have things going on that we struggle with or that present some challenge. A kind word with no strings attached can go a long way.

What was your first car (and what happened to it)?

My first car was a 1973 Mustang with a 302-V8 engine. That car had a long hood and was great looking. I bought it when it only had 19,000 miles on it. It had an eight-track player and was terrible in the snow, but I loved it. I ended up selling it to a nurse and should never have sold it. If I found it today, I would buy it back.

Favorite gadget?

My iPhone. Since I am using it all the time, I may as well like it. I also like my Bushnell Phantom golf rangefinder. It tells you how far your next shot is; that thing gets a workout with me.