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Center for Professional Development
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Dartmouth College
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Alumni Stories: Dean Esserman '79

Integrating Public and Private Resources

Dean Esserman, '79As a history major, Dean Esserman '79 studied hard at Dartmouth. He had become interested in law enforcement early. While in high school, a community service requirement gave him the opportunity to work on an ambulance that eventually got taken over and run by the police. He continued this interest in service at Dartmouth. Through a grant from HELP (the Health Education and Learning Program), one summer Dean was able to set up an ambulance and emergency unit in the New York City Transit Police Department.

While at Dartmouth, he found professors to be very supportive of his interests, which helped tremendously seeing as Dean had no role models to look to. As he stated, "the Ivy League alumni association of police chiefs just doesn't exist." His friends were pursuing careers in Investment Banking and Consulting, but Dean's interests lay elsewhere. Following those interests has given Dean Esserman the opportunity to make a difference as a force for social justice. He encourages all students to follow their dreams, saying, " A lot of things will catch your eye, but few will catch your heart. I'm glad I was encouraged to follow those." When Dean graduated in '79, he had written a grant with Professor Rassias that would enable New York City Transit police officers to come to Dartmouth and learn Spanish.

After graduating, Dean's interests eventually led him to a position at the New York Transit Police as the Director of Planning and Research before going on to law school and becoming a prosecutor in New York City. He has since served as: the Assistant Chief of Police for New Haven, CT, where he implemented the City's first community policing plan; the Chief of the MTA Metro North Police Department, where he led an agency-wide terrorism threat-assessment study and implemented a multi-million dollar security upgrade at Grand Central station. More recently, during his time as Chief of the Stamford, CT police department, crime dropped by more than 50% as police-community involvement increased. In November 2001, Esserman joined Thacher Associates, one of New York's largest corporate investigations and integrity compliance firms as the firm's Executive Managing Director.

Dean Esserman has "learned the value of integrating public and private resources." He "developed the view that (he) was responsible for leveraging the resources around (him) and not just those that were under (his) direct command." While Dean credits his time in the police departments with helping him develop this skill, the makings of this quality in him can be seen in his years spent at Dartmouth. Taking advantage of everything Dartmouth could offer him opened up a world of options.

Last Updated: 6/21/12