BYU securityprevents crime,secures campus

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    By DEREK FAY

    Their blue blazers and stoic expressions don’t reveal much about what they do, but the BYU security officers seen in different buildings across campus have a wide range of responsibilities, from protecting artwork to preventing crime.

    Almost 80 security officers are employed throughout various campus buildings and facilities owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints such as the Motion Picture Studio.

    Security officers are hired and supervised by and work in conjunction with the University Police in securing and protecting the facilities in which they work.

    “Any kind of an arrest obviously is handled by the police department … we are the eyes and ears,” said Sgt. Ryan Judd of the University Police. Judd oversees the security officers working in the Harold B. Lee Library and Museum of Art.

    All of the security officers working on campus are BYU students, and although they don’t function as actual police officers, they work closely with University Police, who are actual police officers, and have radio contact with the office for emergencies.

    They also attend a 30-hour security academy.

    The security academy teaches the security officers everything from effective public relations and emergency first aid, to identifying suspicious packages and persons, Judd said.

    Different buildings on campus have different security needs.

    For example, some of the most visible security guards on campus work in the HBLL where almost 8,000 people pass through daily, Judd said.

    Although theft of personal belongings is probably the most prevalent crime in the HBLL, there are cases of people being harassed or watched by suspicious individuals, Judd said.

    “There are situations where a suspicious person may be harassing or annoying someone, male or female. (Security officers) would respond to that, check it out and see the nature of the problem and handle it from there to see if it needs police attention or if the security staff can handle it,” Judd said.

    “We’re here to protect anything that’s inside this library,” said Kristiana Lund-Heaton, a security officer at the HBLL. Although they are charged with protecting the materials and special collections in the HBLL, the protection also extends to the people, Heaton said.

    “We’re here to help patrons and students,” said Anna Tiberius, a security officer who has worked at the HBLL for almost three years.

    “If anything happens out of the ordinary or unusual, come to us immediately. I want people to be aware that we’re here to help and that we’re more than willing to go and assist them with whatever happens,” Tiberius said.

    Tiberius said many times people will tell her of incidents where someone was looking at them strangely, or they had something stolen and then neglected to tell a security guard who could have done something to help them.

    Although the main job description of a security officer at the MOA is to watch and protect the paintings, people skills are needed, said Matt Gehring, a security officer who has worked at the MOA for more than a year.

    “We do work hard, we don’t just stand around, although it does have that appearance,” Gehring said.

    Some of the more peculiar situations security guards deal with in the MOA include asking mothers not to nurse in the open and inviting young couples to be less amorous, Gehring said. Jason Griffin, another MOA security officer, was even called upon to rescue a drowning pigeon from the fountain outside of the museum.

    Campus-wide building protection is taken care of by building security officers who work in another division of BYU security supervised by University Police.

    “Their role falls into protecting construction sites, patrolling campus and directly assisting the police department in monitoring what’s going on campus,” Judd said.

    Building security officers have encountered people who have been intoxicated or in fights, and have stopped people with previous criminal records, Judd said.

    Security officers use police radios to maintain contact with each other and if necessary, the University Police. Although they don’t carry firearms, security officers are allowed to carry pepper spray, Judd said.

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