The Westminster Bi-Line

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The Westminster Bi-Line

The Westminster Bi-Line

Ahmed, Laseter, and Seeds patrol, protect, and observe

A student at Westminster is said to always be under scrutiny from parents, teachers, coaches, and colleges, but the most unnoticed observer maybe be a mechanical one. In director of security David Sees’s office in the physical plant, a large plasma screen monitor with live footage from hidden cameras all around the school grounds is sure to catch a visitor’s eye. There Sees sits, carefully watching. Apart from the seven continuously patrolling security officers employed by the school, 28 concealed cameras around campus allow Sees to prevent any possible danger threatening the students and faculty.

“[The surveillance system] helps me to personally watch what goes on during the day because first and foremost my job is to protect you guys, staff and faculty, and everything else comes second for me,” says Sees. “The cameras are not in place to monitor the students but rather to act as a buffer to suspicious people that could make their way on campus, and to prevent theft.”

As security officer David Laster recounts, the cameras played a key role in the arrest of a man four years ago while Laster was a Fulton County police officer.

“When we opened his bag he had bolt cutters and locks, so his plan was to go down to Turner Gym, break the bolts and replace the locks so no one would know they had been broken into,” said Laster. “He had stolen credit cards, et cetera, and when he took off we were able to apprehend him.”

The security officers, when faced with a contentious situation, follow a protocol.

“First I call backup, and then I confront the person and find out why they are here,” said security officer Aisha Ahmed. “If they try to retaliate we apprehend them and hold them until the police arrive.”

Ahmed, who is popular among the students for her friendly demeanor, acts as an ambassador to the students, keeping them in line and on campus and giving the security team a more personable demeanor, a goal that she shares with the entire staff.

Sees encourages students to come see him if they have any questions or concerns.

“Feel free to come in and sit down and talk if there’s anything on your mind,” he said. “The only thing I’m sad about is that I don’t get enough time to interact with y’all.”

Asha’s only complaint is for the students to drive more safely on campus, because she cares very much about their safety and that of all drivers on campus.

The security staff has also been faced with perilous situations.

“An armed robbery happened in Marietta and they came down I-75, one of them jumped over the wall, breaking his leg, another two hijacked a car and headed south, and one suspect ran on campus,” said Sees. “However, he never got to a point where I thought he was a danger to the students as we had him isolated on the football field.”

Sees has been the director of security for five years, having worked in either law enforcement or security since college, and prior to coming to Westminster he owned his own private investigation agency for fifteen years. Sees cites his law enforcement/security experience for generating a good rapport with the Fulton County, Kennesaw, and Marietta police, which helps facilitate police involvement in high-risk security scenarios.

Each of the three security personnel express the utmost concern at all times for student safety, saying that their main duty is making the campus a safe, comfortable place to learn. Sees spends the majority of his time handling all administration for the security department while simultaneously watching the cameras and making sure that suspicious personnel do not infiltrate the campus. Security officers like Asha and Laster handle traffic and constantly patrol the roads and watch the parking lots to ensure that no one breaks into cars parked on campus. Security is a 24/7 job for the Westminster staff, helping students get into buildings on the weekends, overseeing sports and other events, and providing the constant presence of the white security truck to deter any potential undesirables from making their way onto the grounds.

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