Security and Safety: an office growing with the university

By Chris Pepple on 10/31/2008

   
   

Campus growth has made headlines this year as Lipscomb celebrated ribbon-cuttings for four newly constructed or renovated facilities on campus: Burton Health Sciences Center, the Thomas James McMeen Music Center, the Village at Lipscomb and Willard Collins Alumni Auditorium. The university also celebrated its largest ever enrollment, surpassing the 3,000 mark for the first time in its 117-year history. The changes on campus have defined us a vibrant university making a difference not just in the lives of our students but in quality of life in the greater Nashville community.

We open our doors to visitors through spectacular theater performances such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which drew more than 500 people each night for a grand total of more than 1,700 people. Sixteen teams from three states and seven Middle Tennessee counties are coming to campus for the annual Music City BEST Robotics Competition. Band and choral performances bring visitors to campus on a regular basis. The art department draws guests to the campus through the Presidential Lectures in Art and Art History as well as through Nashville’s only Award for Excellence in Logo Design. Lighting of the Green and Summer Celebration bring thousands of visitors to campus to fellowship together. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, along with Mayor Karl Dean and many other Nashville political and business leaders visit campus to participate in seminars and conferences utilizing Lipscomb venues.

Behind the scenes, Lipscomb’s Security and Safety staff work to ensure the safety of all students, faculty, staff and guests as the campus continues to grow and open our doors to the community through dynamic performances, lectureships and academic opportunities, as well as through events hosted by outside organizations. The office of Security and Safety has been transformed this past year, allowing their growth to keep pace with the growth of the university.

“President Lowry seeks excellence in all aspects of this university, including the area of security and safety. To continually strive for excellence, we have strategically used our funding to provide upgrades in our Security and Safety resources. We have new vehicles, new personnel, an upgraded communication system and an upgraded camera system, just to name a few of the changes on campus. One of the great blessings has been the great wealth of experience and knowledge our officers bring to our campus. We are also thrilled to have our new permanent home for this team. The office in Elam provides a central location for both the university and campus school,” said Phil Ellenburg, general counsel at Lipscomb.

Brad Wyatt, director, David Cagle, assistant director of emergency management and security, and Patrick Cameron, assistant director of daily operations and special events, lead the Security and Safety team. The team currently includes 20 staff members securing the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We are working to serve this university in an efficient and professional manner. We have taken steps to increase our professional presence on campus due to the increasing needs of the university. I bring with me 29 years of law enforcement experience. We are more than security guards or traffic patrol. We’re here to serve and protect people. We are proactive rather than reactive,” said Wyatt.

“With the restructuring of our office over the past year, we’ve worked to portray our professionalism both on and off campus. We’ve upgraded our vehicles to include the Lipscomb Security and Safety seal. Our fleet is now recognizable to the public. We have also purchased uniforms so our staff members can be easily identified on campus,” added Wyatt.

“We are opening a new chapter here on campus. We are upgrading our equipment and updating our standard operating procedures, as well as revamping our training for officers. Using the education and experience of the three of us in a leadership role, we have grown a team that is qualified and prepared to handle emergencies along with the day-to-day operations of the university,” said Cagle.

Though this team handles minor daily disruptions such as keys locked in cars or cars parked illegally, every seemingly insignificant action revolves around the security of the campus. Parking regulations, for example, are designed to create clear routes for emergency personnel possibly needing access to a residence hall or a classroom and provide safe access for visiting dignitaries. The team works daily to improve the overall emergency responses by themselves and by city police, fire and medical personnel. They assess possible security risks and train to handle various situations such as natural disasters or security breaches.

“The university is growing quickly. This creates added responsibilities for our department. The university doesn’t close any more. There is no slow time now that we have added more extended academic programs, more student events and more community programs. We are evolving with the university,” said Cameron.

“Our students are doing a great job in cooperating with our department. They understand the needs of the community as a whole and, overall, they work well with us. We continue to encourage our students to go to our web page (safety.lipscomb.edu) to sign up for LU Alert so we can communicate with them easily in emergency situations,” said Wyatt.

The changes in the Security and Safety office represent only the beginning of the growth for this team. They will continue to evaluate the escalating needs of the university and their own preparedness levels as they seek to address those needs. Policies are in place to continue to upgrade and update equipment, training, and procedures as the office continues to evolve with the changing times.