Franklin security staff keeps you and UC safe and secure
There are only nine of them and about 850 of us. But they know our names, both first and last, when we come and go, and they might even know if we’re doing stadium runs in the stairwells during lunch hour.
They are the Franklin Building security staff, and if you ever come to work on a weekend, you know there’s always at least one of them here around the clock, keeping UC’s systemwide headquarters safe and secure.
All the officers report en masse for periodic Saturday morning training on systems such as the fire alarm or evacuation procedures, an important part of the job to ensure that, no matter what shift they cover, they know all the drills. They are even available to escort you or arrange for an escort to BART or the parking garages after hours.
“Security guards in some buildings don’t even seem to be paying attention,” says Rhoderick Broughton, day shift security supervisor. “But here at Franklin, we’re constantly watching out for dangers, like fire, theft or protesters. We want to be approachable so people will let us know if they have a concern.”
Broughton and Edwin Martinez, day shift front desk officer, are the most familiar officers, the first two people to greet you every morning with a cheery hello.
The entire team, which includes four relief officers who work the graveyard shift, are employees of third party vendor Securitas Security Services, an arrangement that prevents UC from bearing undue liability, says Roman Starno, chief building manager. But you wouldn’t know they’re contract employees based on the service they provide.
“They bend over backwards to take good care of us, and we treat them as members of the UCOP family,” Starno says. “The result is a stable security staff in an industry that has a lot of turnover.”
On a given day, the officers are keeping their eagle eyes out for any security breach, checking the turnstiles and entrances, making rounds on the floors, and monitoring four computer screens recording activity in and around the building.
Their job was made easier last year when the security desk was flipped to face the entry turnstiles and elevators. The crew doesn’t have to budge from their stations to get a clear view of anyone trying to break through the turnstiles, which separate the public lobby from the private offices upstairs.
Serving as first responders, they attend to unexpected emergencies like people fainting after donating blood, slipping on a wet floor or getting stuck in an elevator — all of which happen more often than you think.
Constantly juggling these weightier tasks with customer service, they also greet staff and visitors, answer phones, receive mail and, oh yes, buzz workers from the public parking lot next door into the lobby restrooms. They say they have good relationships with most of their clients, but it can be a delicate balance.
“The most challenging thing is keeping a good attitude,” Broughton says. “Not everyone is nice because they see you as just a security officer. But I try to stay positive and not take it personally.”
Adding to the pressure are the characters who wander in from the Oakland streets and the recent Occupy protesters, hundreds of whom splashed paint and tried (unsuccessfully) to break the glass at the Franklin Street entrance last fall.
A more typical day in the Franklin lobby will see anywhere from 10 to 200 visitors, from your friendly Canon copier serviceman to Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs coming for a meeting with the president.
But no matter who comes through, from the president and campus chancellors to an unknown street person, Broughton trains the Franklin team to treat them with respect.
“Out of the 100 or so incidents we’ve had over the years, we’ve really only had a couple of serious issues,” he says. “Just by treating people with respect, you can handle most problems.”
So if you want to make life easier for them, don’t forget your badge, be sure to log all your visitors into iVisitor, and try not to faint on your way back from donating blood. Even though they would all handle it with aplomb if you did.