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Security’s Stories

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Although it sometimes works behind the scenes, Corporate Security is often the very face of Johns Hopkins Medicine. In fact, many of the security officers who work the East Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Howard County General Hospital campuses cite their interactions with patients, families and employees as the most meaningful parts of their jobs. Last year, on the East Baltimore campus alone, security answered 189,081 calls for service, including walking escorts, directions and assistance with flat tires or lost vehicles. Every morning at 8:20, 10 of the department’s leaders meet to discuss what happened the day before. If patterns emerge—say that thefts are up in a particular building—adjustments are quickly made.

The department will mark National Security Officer Week, Oct. 12–18, by celebrating its nearly 500 employees. Recently, Dome talked with some security personnel about their lives and work.

Barbara Burns
Master Security Officer
Harriet Lane Clinic

I was an OR technician in New Jersey for 26 years. I retired but I wanted to do something where I could talk to people. My husband and I decided to move to another state and we picked Maryland because our car broke down on 95. We both became security officers at Hopkins (now my husband works in the Welch Library). I’ve been working at Harriet Lane since 2000 and I love it here. I think Hopkins is the nucleus of Baltimore. Because it’s not only about saving people, finding out what’s wrong with them and helping them. At Harriet Lane, they teach kids how to read. They go out into neighborhoods and help. It’s not only a hospital; it’s a home and a family.

Arthur Canada
Security Officer
Howard County General Hospital

I work full time as a machine operator, and I came to work here part-time a year ago. The emergency department lobby is my post. I like to be with the action. You might get a patient coming off the street in handcuffs and we have to assist. Because when they release that person in handcuffs to the hospital, it’s in your hands to keep the hospital safe for however many hours it takes. I like to stay in the room with them. I like it here. I like my co-workers and I have a lot of respect for my superior officers. The nurses say that when I come on the post, they feel very safe. They tell me, We’re glad you’re here tonight. And it makes my day. It’s always good to feel wanted.

Gloria Farmer
Master Security Officer

I’ve been undercover for almost two years. Nobody pays attention; they just walk by me. Mostly, I walk the Outpatient Center. I’m the person who responds to the codes, whether it’s medical or a patient who’s being aggressive. And I talk to people. I talk to staff and visitors. I help them any way I can, whether it’s assisting someone to the bathroom or helping someone who’s gotten lost from their family. You’d be surprised how often that happens. Recently, I caught a guy who’d been stealing women’s wallets here. I felt good about that because this time he’s in jail for at least 18 months. When I walk into the building every day, if I see your wallet, your purse, I say, Please, don’t make it easy. Put your things away.

George Hamilton Jr.
Protective Services Officer

Until 2005, I spent six years in the U.S. Navy, and 10 months in Afghanistan. It was a good experience because now I don’t take things for granted. Before coming to Hopkins, I was a corrections officer. I left Harrisburg, Pa., to move to Baltimore City to join the police department. Still, I didn’t know how to go about it. Then while I was working on Hopkins’ Habitat for Humanity project on Washington Street, I met my vice president, Harry Koffenberger. He asked me about my plans for the future and since he’s a retired police officer, he offered to help. He guided me step by step and got me to the right people. In March, I’m leaving to go to the Academy. That’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid.

Timothy Kreimer
Security Officer
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

I’m just 21 years old, but this is the best job I’ve ever had. If I could go back, I’d start here. I like my hours and there are opportunities for promotion. I get to train people, too. Every day is different. I’ve had to help calm psychiatric patients in the Emergency Department, help people get medical attention when they slip and fall, and provide walking escorts to patients or push them in wheelchairs. At first, I was just sitting at a door post, but I said, I have got to be walking around. I’d rather be up interacting with everybody. How can I help you get here? What can I do for you? That’s what I like!

Dexter Lockett
Protective Services Sergeant

I left my home in Trinidad and Tabago when I was 28 because my dad is from Baltimore. At first, I was a protective services officer. I worked in the Weinberg Building and had lots of interactions with patients and family members. Even though I’m a security officer, I was there to lend that kind word, that helping hand in whatever little way I can. Two years ago, I was given the opportunity to get promoted and now I supervise 55 people. I love this organization. I love the environment I work in. Even though it becomes stressful at times, there are so many facets to the work, there are people from all different walks of life. Every day, it’s something new.

William Muse
Protective Services Officer

I used to be an independent insurance agent, but business was slow and I needed a second job. Recently, I was on a detail in pediatrics [when you’re assigned to one person]. There was a little boy who was 9 years old who was going through some things. He was in pediatric psychiatry and he was giving everybody a hard time. I got him to calm down, I got him to eat, we talked. I explained to him that I had a 9-year-old son. By the time my shift ended, we were like best friends. I’m proud to work at the No. 1 hospital. The patients and families, they really rely upon us.

Billy “Bizzo” Robinson
Protective Services Officer

I’ve worked here for 34 years. Before this, I worked on my grandfather’s farm in Jacksonville, N.C. I came up here on a Sunday night and Monday during the day I got a job with Hopkins. By Monday night, I was working here. I was about 22. I’ve had a couple of memorable days. Back in the 1970s, I came to work one Saturday and some people were looking for the Emergency Department. They couldn’t speak English. The lady was in labor. She was in the back seat of the car and she started pushing. I put on my gloves and said, push, push. As the baby came out, I was holding the baby and the cord was still there. We waited until the ambulance came. It was a girl. This other time, I was talking to this patient I knew—I called him the general because he was a general in the Air Force—who came here three days every week for dialysis. He started walking real slowly and sort of slipped and I caught him. And he died in my arms. Nurses came out and started giving him CPR, but he didn’t make it. Those were the two.

Derrick Warren
Bicycle Patrol

I make patrols of the whole campus. Anything that happens—accidents, a disturbance—it’s my responsibility as a bike unit to respond. I can get there quicker than most of the foot patrols, and I can go places that most of the mobiles can’t go. Once, we caught a guy stealing from the ER. We started questioning him and he got agitated and pulled out a knife. He ended up cutting himself and he got arrested. But that was a rare case, because 99.5 percent of people are no problem.

 


—Reported by Mary Ellen Miller

 

 

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