by Faith Garven
Leah Weidel, 19, has been working as a security guard here at Niagara County Community College for five weeks. She graduated last May from NCCC with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology at the University of Buffalo.
Leah found out about the position through her father. She was very interested in applying for the position. According to Leah, “I was very interested in it because I have been interested in law enforcement pretty much my whole life. And so I figured it was a step in the general direction of law enforcement and it would help me gain experience in public safety and so that was why I wanted to become a security guard.” Leah is in the Explorer’s Program at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department. Leah said that the Explorer’s Program prepares individuals for the police academy. She said that they do a lot of hands-on work, like building searches, traffic stops, and handcuffing. In addition to this, students in the program learn the New York State Penal Law. In addition to personal experience, being the daughter of a law enforcement officer has made her want to pursue a career in the field.
I asked her about what a typical shift looks like for her. She works mainly in the dorms. She said, “We do rounds just checking to make sure that everything is in its place where it should be. Just general checking in on people making sure they’re doing OK. Talking to people. Checking doors stuff like that. And then just responding to anybody who needs assistance or help. And that can be anything from getting locked out of a room or unlocking a door for someone to something more that’s more of an emergency so we can respond to emergency situations or medical emergencies. Stuff like that. So it really just depends on what’s going on that day.” Additionally, she has to enforce the mask mandates quite frequently.
Leah tries her best to maintain a good relationship with students. She said that, “I think that we are trained to do our job but I think our job is also like customer service. And the customer service aspect is making sure that everyone has what they need and we’re being friendly about it. Just making sure everyone is treated with respect. We interact with people from all sorts of different backgrounds, different ethnicities and so just treating everyone with the same respect is super important. I try to smile at all of the students and I feel like I can relate better to them because we’re the same age.” Leah believes strongly that having a security guard team on campus makes a difference in maintaining a safe environment. Leah said that COVID has had a huge impact on dorm life. “People used to be allowed guests into the dorms but they are no longer allowed to have guests. So we have to handle situations like that with people wanting guests in but they’re not allowed.” In addition to the mask requirements, the no-guest policy has put a damper on living in the dorms.
If you are wondering about how to stay safe on campus, Leah said, “Honestly just don’t do anything stupid because I think sometimes people don’t make the best decisions and that’s when it becomes unsafe. So just make sure you’re making wise decisions. Think about it. Ask yourself. Would my mom like it if I was doing this? And if it’s a no then probably don’t do it.”