Integral to the Virginia Tech Police Department’s efforts in enhancing campus safety is the security guard team — a group of individuals dedicated to serving the university community and lending a helping hand wherever it is needed.

The team is made up of eight security guards, with two-to-four security guards on patrol during shifts.

Security guards support the Virginia Tech Police Department in not only detecting and reporting criminal activity, but also preventing it before it happens. Their steady and visible presence and continuous patrols of buildings and grounds are strong deterrents of crime on campus. This visibility has enabled the security guard team to forge strong connections with the university community, giving students and university employees immediate access to the campus police department.

“Our security guards are tremendous assets to the Virginia Tech Police Department, providing vital assistance in the field patrolling and connecting with campus members,” said James McClain, patrol lieutenant.

Along with patrolling and serving as highly visible crime deterrents, Virginia Tech security guards perform a number of services for the campus community – and no two days are ever the same. From locking and unlocking buildings, to helping jumpstart campus community members’ vehicles, to helping with traffic control at big campus events and providing assistance to faculty and staff locked out of their offices, security guards are the eyes and ears of the police department.

To further ensure safety, they maintain biweekly inspections of blue light emergency phones, of which there are more than 200 across campus. These emergency phones are available 24/7 and connect users with emergency dispatch at the push of a button.

The security guard team also assists the department with providing escorts for Safe Ride, a nighttime safety escort service available for free to all members of the campus community.

Security guards in front of the Virginia Tech Pylons.
Security guards Scott Owens (left) and Alexander Zukosky (right). Sarah Myers for Virginia Tech.

John Scherer, who has worked on-and-off at Virginia Tech for 21 years, found his calling as a security guard. While he’s been doing the job for only a year, he finds it rewarding. He particularly enjoys how much people appreciate his assistance. His favorite part of the job is the daily interaction with the students and employees of Virginia Tech.

“Someone will see me and come up to me just to talk or maybe they have a question. I know I can help them with whatever they might need,” noted Scherer.

He considers Virginia Tech to be home and plans to work with the university until he retires.

Scherer is just one of the many committed members of the Virginia Tech Police Department that demonstrates unwavering dedication to helping the Virginia Tech community, putting action behind the words, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Written by Christy Myers

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