As the men and women of AUN's Safety and Security Department celebrate ten years of working hard together to keep AUN safe for everyone, the event, which passed quietly and almost unnoticed, is nevertheless a milestone in every circumstance.
President Ensign sent a note of hearty congratulation to Assistant Vice President Dr. Lionel von Rawlins extolling his staff's tremendous work and sacrifice. She also thanked him and his team, on behalf of the Community, for their dedication to service.
There is no gainsaying, any discerning persons can easily see the history, achievements, challenges, triumphs, and challenges which the University and members of the Community have passed through in these memorable past ten years. Come rain or shine, night or day, on foot or horseback, the men and women of the Security Department police every inch of this sprawling campus property, making sure students, staff, faculty, and visitors enjoy their stay and encounter little or no difficulty. Their scanning procedures at the Main Gate have become campus folklore, a somber but critical routine that many dislike but submit to nonetheless for the good of all. Consider the following points, and quotes from AVP Lionel von Rawlins.
- They are Mostly Well Educated
Among the staff of the Safety and Security department are educated folks – professionals in their own right. Over 50 percent of them have post-secondary education; many are graduates of universities and other higher institutions. Among them are veterinary medical professionals, accountants, sociologists, criminologists, and graduates of the Humanities and the Social Sciences. The idea is that only an educated workforce can think outside the box and crack security-related problems, especially in a proactive and cost-saving manner. The leadership of the Department believes that a community of enlightened folks such as AUN is best served by curious, logical, rational thinkers who can construct mental models. Dr. Rawlins encourages his men and women to improve their intellectual capacity by enrolling in further studies.
“An educated workforce is what was needed to keep us safe. Our people can use critical thinking, they can understand, they can think on their feet, they can work without supervision, they can make critical decisions at dire moments and we know it is gonna be good. Why, because they are educated. These are the people who are working with us to keep the students, faculty, and staff safe.”
- They Prioritize Intelligence Gathering
Modern security work relies hugely on intelligence gathering. It is never simple enough to gather raw intelligence. The global best practice is to process, analyze and act upon gathered intelligence methodically. The AUN Safety and Security force prioritizes intelligence gathering and processing. They use their minds more than their hands and feet. They use drones, Dog Squads, Mounted Troops, Motorized Units to complement their vigilance outreach and engage local informants to watch where they cannot put boots on the ground. That way, they have been able to prevent many acts of misconduct that could have led students to face disciplinary action, thus negatively impacting their academic progress.
“When schools were closing, we remained open. When others were running, we stayed put. What we did was we went from the moment of our time of venerability and use it, and capitalize it to a moment of strength. We use the community, we use the people around us, we use our limited resources, and we use our intelligent forces. Who is our intelligence, people in the villages, people in the surrounding areas, the old, the young, those who couldn't speak English, those who could speak English, we use everyone to create our Security Force and our support, and our logistics. In the end, we survived, we thrived, we persevered, and everyone was looking up to us for guidance.”
- They Draw Deep Strength from Diversity
They are as diverse as the AUN Community they serve. They are hired from all corners of the compass and speak the languages of members of the Community and most visitors. They empower their female staff and do not discriminate based on gender, religion, or ethnicity.
“When we set out to create this Security Force, we had about 1,000 applicants, people from all over the world applied and we conducted training for one whole month. We did Ethics, anti-Corruption, Leadership training, you name it. We didn't just do the basic security training that people did, we went above and beyond, we did things like Conflict Management, First Aid, we did so many different things, it was revolutionary the way we did it.”
- They are Disciplined
One striking feature of the men and women of the Safety and Security department is their high sense of discipline and decorum. AVP Rawlins asserts that most departments and units in the University hire their staff from his Department because they are qualified, disciplined, reliable, and very committed. On their duty post, they display a high sense of professionalism. At the main entrance gate, offices, classrooms, library, housing units, dorms, open spaces, wherever they are on duty, you can trust that the men and women of the Safety and Security Department are diligent and equal to the task
“We had a Grand passing-out Parade (after our recruitment) but the significant thing is, it wasn't a month or two after we finished the training that Boko-Haram struck, and when Boko-Haram struck, the whole of Nigeria was running around in fear not to talk of the Northeast which was feeling the brunt of the assault of Boko-Haram. When that happened, all eyes depended on us, everyone turned to us to find out what are we doing, what are we going to do?”
- They are Incredibly fit
Their workout schedule is a campus legend. They march, run, lift weights, walk, and generally keep body and soul as fit as a fiddle. They are alert on their duty posts.
So, the next time you meet any one of them, stop and greet them cheerfully. They keep us safe, and they love what they do. We are very lucky to have them.
“Many people don't know what we do because we keep our operations a little bit secretive. What we have done; me as a Criminologist and also a United States Marine, what I did was, I blend the synthesis of Criminology and the Military and create a unique brand of Security for the University and that unique brand of Security which we have has transcended all other problems that most security forces could have understood.”