1/18/2003 Guarding Navarro:
Security officers befriend, protect students
By MICAH CHAPLIN/Daily Sun Staff
Chief Tommy Grant leads a staff of five Navarro
College Security officers. The campus force works to ensure the safety and
well-being of the students. Daily Sun photo/KIRK SIDES
Troublemakers at Navarro College, watch out. Chief
Tommy Grant and his excellent staff are on their toes and on patrol 24-seven, to
ensure the safety and well being of Navarro students.
"We all enjoy our jobs and enjoy working with the
kids," Grant said. "They might be young adults by age, but they'll always be
kids to me."
Grant started on the Navarro Security force part-time
in 1982. He worked with Dave Garrett then, though Grant was not thrilled about
peace officer work.
"I thought I was through with being a peace officer,
and thought it'd be more like a night watch type of thing," Grant said. "But we
are a police agency and work closely with the Corsicana Police Department and
the Navarro County Sheriff's Office."
The Navarro College security staff handles most of
their own cases, but if something such as a murder or serial rapist case came
up, they would ask the CPD for help.
"They have a lot more expertise and lab equipment than
we have here," Grant said. "But so far, we haven't had any case that we didn't
have a hand in handling."
When he first started, Grant took on much of the night
duty. These days, however, his primary function is paperwork and administration
duties during the daylight hours.
"I don't like paperwork," Grant said. "I miss the
nights and working with all the kids."
As the student population at Navarro continues to grow,
so has the security force. When he first started, Grant says there were only two
full-time officers. Today, there are five, plus one part-time officer each at
Waxahachie and Mexia. Each comes from a different background of experience,
which enriches the knowledge and persona of the squad.
Five full-time officers enable constant surveillance on
the Corsicana campus. On "busy nights," there are two officers on duty.
"Monday through Thursday are typically our busiest
nights," Grant said. "Fridays, most people are packing up to go home, and on
Saturdays, there's usually no one around."
Grant is pushing to have two during busy hours on
Sunday as well, since that is the day most students are returning from the
There is more to the job than simply patrolling,
however. The Navarro College Security officers also handle IDs, parking permits,
unlocking doors and presenting safety programs in the residence halls.
"Our job is more service oriented than money driven,"
Grant said. "There is no monetary gain for them to gain through citations. We
are here because we want to help."
In the residence halls, Grant and his staff deliver
information on personal safety and taking care of their vehicles. They work
closely with Director of Residence Life Charles Betts, who has been with the
college for six years. Grant said his job and that of his staff would be much
harder if not for the help of Betts and his assistants.
"We have an excellent residence life staff," Grant
said. "Charles has been here for six years, and he's doing a great job. He
always has residence life staff on duty to check the dorms. That helps us out a
Throughout his time at Navarro, Grant has established a
rapport, not only with faculty and staff, but also with the students.
"I've always been impressed with Chief Grant's ability
to befriend the student population," Director of Market Relations and Public
Information Susan Johnson said. "From that, I think he has a lot of respect from
Indeed, Grant says he has developed a bond with the
student body, and ensures them he has their best interests at heart.
"I know what they're going through, I was 19 once.
They're bound to go a little wild, I'm just there to keep them out of trouble,"
Grant said. "We really have a good group to begin with though. I always tell [CPD
Chief G.M. Cox], I'd put 400 of mine up against 400 of his and I'd still come
out with the best group. They're all here to get a higher education, so that
tells you what kind of people they are."
Many students even have a nickname for Grant.
"Years ago, students would come by and see me watching
cars as I ate my cheese and crackers," he said. "They would ask why I was always
watching them. I told them that I wasn't, that I was just eating my supper, my
rat cheese and crackers. The name rat cheese stuck."
The name does not bother Rat Cheese, or Mr. Cheese, to
"It's never bothered me. At least they feel comfortable
with me," he said.
Grant has a thick stack of business cards which hands
out to students, staff, faculty and even parents. The card contains contact
information for Grant's office, mobile phone and even home.
"I don't mind if they call me at home," he said. "I
always want to be available to help."
Micah Chaplin may be contacted via e-mail at
Reprinted with permission of the Corsicana Daily Sun
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