Sonoff signs off; Campus Safety gets new director

Dennis Marks, the new campus safety director. Photo provided by CCC.

After a lengthy recruitment process, Clackamas Community College announced their new director of college safety position on March 21.  Dennis Marks was selected to fill the vacant position after the previous director of college safety, Tom Sonoff, retired. The Clackamas Print asked Dennis a few questions recently so that the CCC community could get to know a little bit about him. 

The Clackamas Print: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Dennis Marks: I was born in Portland Oregon, grew up in Cedar Mill and then the Gaston/Yamhill area.

TCP: What career did you have prior to coming to Clackamas Community College?  

Marks: My adult career included six years in the Marine Corps, then I worked at McMinnville PD for 27 years, retiring as a captain in 2017.  Since then I have worked as director of public safety at Linfield University for five years before starting at CCC.

TCP: Why did you come to CCC and want to be the director of college safety? 

Marks: Two reasons. First, I was looking for greater opportunities to work professionally in the areas of Emergency Management and Behavioral Assessment.  At CCC it appears I will have greater opportunities to do both effectively.  Second, I appreciated that CCC seems to take campus safety more seriously, and my position is included in some senior executive meetings, thus giving me the chance to share safety concerns at a senior level.  That was something I was disappointed not to have in my last assignment.

TCP: What experiences do you bring to CCC that will help you as director?  

Marks: I have lots of experience as a law enforcement officer and campus safety director, (which) provides a great background for dealing with current situations and concerns.

TCP: How have your first few months as the director been going? 

Marks: I have felt very welcomed and have enjoyed the chance to get to know people in this great organization.

TCP: Any changes on the horizon for the department or CCC?  

Marks: I do believe we are going to have to continue to focus on prevention and mitigation against active shooter incidents. 

TCP: Are there any new programs or events you are planning on implementing?  

Marks: (My) primary focus for the near term will be getting CCC better prepared for emergency management type incidents (wildfire, earthquake, etc.)

TCP: This position has seen its share of turnover, especially prior to Tom Sonoff, do you have long term plans to stay as the director of college safety?  

Marks: My hope is that I could remain here until I retire, 5-10 years. I can’t predict the future, but that is my hope.

TCP: Do you have any hobbies or something about yourself that you wouldn’t mind sharing with the CCC community?  

Marks: I am hoping to spend some time traveling around the United States with my wife; we have a fairly large family and spend most of our spare time enjoying family visits and activities.

For campus safety questions or concerns, you can contact Dennis Marks, Director of College Safety for Clackamas Community College at 503-594-1698 or by email at 

College Safety is currently located in McLoughlin Hall, room 113. If you witness a crime, suspicious activity or have observed a crime after the fact, contact the on-duty officer at 503-594-6650 or ext. 6650 from any campus phone. Currently the college has a contract with the Oregon City Police Department to have an armed guard on campus. If a crime is in progress, call 9-1-1.

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Laura Canida

Laura Canida is the current managing editor for The Clackamas Print. She started her first term in the spring of 2019. She is earning her Journalism Certificate, DMC/Journalism AAS, and working towards her AAOT (transfer degree.)