Security's Most Influential People in Security 2019 - Rick Lee Morris
Chief of Campus Security; North Greenville University Office of Campus Security
North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C. has grown from being a Junior College to a university with 2,550 students.
The North Greenville University campus security department is an armed, para-law enforcement agency, offering 24/7 on-duty service, protection and law enforcement. The agency employs 13 full-time officers, most with specialized skills, including one K-9 Officer with a certified police detector dog, a full-time Certified Training Officer and seven work-study students. Chief Morris also oversees the Transportation Department that maintains the university’s fleet of buses.
Chief Morris was instrumental in developing a campus Joint Dispatch system, a collaborative effort involving NGU Campus Security, the Furman University Police Department and Queen’s University of Charlotte, N.C. to provide 24-hour dispatch capability to all three agencies. This was a first, where three different agencies share dispatch services. By splitting the cost, the much needed officer lifeline became a reality.
“When I came to this office 18 years ago, it consisted of a young woman who doubled as an office clerk and traffic enforcement officer, a night watchman on the midnight shift and myself,” he says. “Today, as a proprietary security agency, state statutes grant my officers the same powers of arrest and authority as a deputy sheriff. We have officers that train regularly with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. Being located in a rural area, we are 30 minutes away from tactical assistance from local law enforcement, so our training is based on the first-on-scene, first- in concept.”
Chief Morris mentors each officer under his supervision. He shares his wisdom and knowledge to ensure that the officer understands the commitment and skills needed for the job. Chief Morris then works to get the required training and helps the officer to study and grow.
“Realizing that education is ongoing, a linear process to be as informed as possible, you cannot afford to be blindsided by information that you, as a professional, should be aware of,” he says. “Security/Law enforcement professionals are charged with continually thinking in worse-case scenarios, and that daunting task cannot be shouldered by one individual. Seek out those who have the skill sets to carry out the duties and tasks required to accomplish the job of protecting your asset. Just as you, they also need to be people of vision, accountability, inspiration, passion and humility. Get to know them well, identify those traits that are in the center of their wheelhouse and capitalize on them. Finally, don’t be the boss; live in such a way that they will want to follow you, for that is the heart of leadership.”