Jon Purcell (L) and Shawn Parker are part of the triumvirate that coordinates security measures for the UGA Libraries.
The Libraries Security Office, housing the security coordinator and his two assistants, may look and even smell like the common room at a frat house. But appearances are deceptive when it comes to the nerve center of security operations.
Shawn Parker and Jon Purcell, assistant security coordinators, have each been with Libraries security for about two years, during which time the operations have seen much change.
“It’s much more about risk management than before,” according to Shawn. “It used to be about opening, closing, doing rounds, but now it’s extended to other things. And it makes sense: we’re the first ones to notice something; we’re the first ones there; we’re the first ones to deal with patrons; any issues departments have they know they can call us and we will know how to handle it.”
Jon agrees the scope of security has broadened, beginning with the role security had to play in the re-building of the Main second floor.
“We’re definitely more familiar to departments in the library," Jon said. “Our reputation throughout the building has changed. Once we do something and show competency, it becomes one of the things we’re responsible for.”
Shawn and Jon join Ryan Thomas, security coordinator, in supervising 15 to 20 student security assistants who have recently been sporting new red (junior assistants) and black (senior assistants) shirts with the Libraries logo.
“They look better. It’s a new feel; it’s a whole new thing,” Jon said.
“Our staff are on top of their game,” according to Shawn. “They are here on-time, they know their jobs and responsibilities.”
They are also gaining valuable experience in learning how to work with people.
”I wish everyone had the chance to sit out at that desk for five hours, “ Jon said. “Relationships you build with people become very important.”
Different job experiences were what attracted Shawn to the job. Before graduating in May with a psychology degree, Shawn wanted flexible working hours and a chance to learn new skills including scheduling and payroll.
“I really wanted the job after I met Ryan Cheek (the previous coordinator) and Ryan Thomas,” Shawn said.
Jon knew Ryan Thomas from a previous job and says his two years at the Libraries “have been fabulous.” Jon has a degree in business management.
To help everyone get to know these folks, in whom we place our trust every day, Update sat down and asked the probing questions on everyone’s minds.
Shawn: Office Space. “But our office is way better – the entertainment value alone.”
Jon: The Godfather series, actually just I and II. “I’d like to be in a powerful family.”
Shawn: Chinese. “You have no idea how much I love Chinese food.”
Jon: Steaks, pizza: “I try different pizzas when I go out of town.”
Shawn: Two dogs: Sandy, a pit/shepherd mix and Baxter, a rottie/hound mix. His girlfriend has two cats; their names aren’t important.
Jon: Two dogs: Marley, a blue heeler/beagle mix and Redd, a pit mix.
Shawn: Cooking, dogs and being the repairman around the house
Jon: basketball (which he played in high school), walking dogs, crossword puzzles and grilling out
Shawn: “I would like to go to grad school to be a physician’s assistant. I like helping people.”
Jon: “A family, kids…that’d be nice.”
Shawn: “Sail around the world. I’d also like to find a musical talent.”
Jon: “To coach high school or some level of basketball and to write a book, a novel.”
And remember, please conceal your food and drinks as you pass through the public parts of the libraries. Thank you, Security.