Brendan Carroll signals to an exiting car that they may proceed onto Saratoga Avenue. Carroll arrived on campus at 6:30 a.m. to prepare campus.
Brendan Carroll signals to an exiting car that they may proceed onto Saratoga Avenue. Carroll arrived on campus at 6:30 a.m. to prepare campus.
Brandon Zau

From dawn to dusk: a security guard’s workday

Campus security officers open school, direct traffic and promote campus safety

As the time nears 8 a.m., cars flow in and out of the upper school’s front gates, as if guided by the tracks of a continuous conveyor belt. But who operates this well-oiled system? 

It comes down to the security officers who arrive at 6:30 a.m. about an hour before cars start rolling in first on campus. They are in charge of opening the school and ensuring safety during the bustling Harker rush hour.

Brendan Carroll is one such security officer whom you’ve likely met in the mornings. He can often be found directing traffic by the kiosk at the mouth of Harker’s campus or guiding cars to make space for crossing students in the front loading zone. Additionally, Carroll makes sure only those belonging to the school community can enter.

“We handle a lot of the traffic that comes in and out, and we make sure that students and faculty at Harker are the only people on campus,” Carroll said. “During the day, we do a lot of patrolling, making sure certain doors are closed that are off limits to students.”

Security officer Josh Conti is no stranger to the daily Harker traffic, either. Conti helps buses enter premises safely and also manages middle and lower school bus transportation. Layout constraints for the upper school loading zones prompt the security team to plan the most efficient methods of meeting everyone’s transportation needs.

“We’ll have about four buses come through dropping off and picking up kids from the different campuses, and we’ll have the parents dropping off the high school kids as well,” Conti said. “We’ve been experimenting with different traffic setups — we have this one that goes through Shah lot, which has cut down the traffic time by at least 10-15 minutes, so you get everyone out easier and safer.”

Once the buzz of the traffic session passes over, security’s job is not over yet. Security officers continue to regulate Harker’s entrance and prevent public visitors from entering.

Security Brendan Carroll and Garrett Smith stand guard at Harker’s entrance to make sure no trespasser step foot onto campus. After morning traffic settles, they transitioned to patrol duties. (Brandon Zau)

“We shift gears to patrols and maintaining presence up at the kiosk checking on deliveries, visitors, guests, as well as keeping a presence to make sure that the riff-raff that’s on Saratoga Avenue stays out there,” Conti said. “We keep the Harker bubble safe because a lot of times, people don’t realize what happens outside.”

Carroll said additional safety protocols account for students on or off campus. 

“We’re good about communicating to parents and students what we expect, such as whenever a student is leaving school early, they should have a slip, so that they can hand it off to us,” Carroll said. “Being aware of surroundings — A lot of people are driving in, and if you’re driving your car, you should pay attention to what’s in front of you. We try to guide them to do the right thing.”

As noon approaches, security officers transition away from parking lot duties. 

“[During the day shift], it’s quiet some days, but there’s some things that still go on until 9 or 9:30 p.m.,” Security officer Garret Smith said. “Some days, they have events in the theater or a football game, so we’ll have events like that [to] cover.”

The school community can reach security officers through email or on campus during patrol. The Harker security phone line is also posted around campus by most building entrances such as Nichols auditorium and Main front office, which students can contact for emergencies like unlocking classrooms for personal belongings. The security office is outside Main facing the Singh Aquatic Center.

Josh Conti smiles for a photo from the bus loading zone behind Nichols. Conti helped manage bus transportation between the Harker’s multiple campuses for student drop offs.  (Brandon Zau)

The safety of every individual serves as the underlying principle behind everything security does.

“Be aware of your surroundings, when you’re on or off the campus,” Conti said. “Safety is a main concern for all of us, and you just have to remember that not everyone is going to be looking out for you. The key thing is that you have to make sure to be looking out for your own safety, for your own self; we can only do so much because there’s only so many of us that are around.”

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