Securing trusting relationships

DM’s security team checks more than just IDs


Courtesy of Rebecca Cate

DM security guards James Bisacca, David Fields, Jay Curtis, Noreen Mclellan, and Carlos Lopez say that security is only part of their jobs. “Our relationships with the students is, in my opinion, the most important part of the job,” said Dave Fields, who is in his 11th year at DM.

Marissa Wyszynski, Staff writer

Some students may never forget the horror of security guard Dave’s bloody finger as he opened the door for students and jammed his finger.

But the horrified expressions quickly turned to wry smiles as they realized the good-natured Halloween prank. But they shouldn’t have been surprised, as DM’s five security guards say security is only part of their job description. 

“Our relationships with the students is, in my opinion, the most important part of the job,” said Dave Fields, who is in his 11th year at DM.

DM’s security team works very well together by supporting each other and always having an organized system. The job, along with the relationships they forge with students, makes DM security a difficult job to leave. 

I started working here when my daughter was a freshman, and had only planned on staying until she left for college,” Fields said, “but the students at DM keep drawing me back year after year.”

“You guys are the best!”

A variety of backgrounds, a singular focus

Not surprisingly, most of the security guards have military or first-responder training. 

Fields was a firefighter for 26 years in Pontiac, Michigan, before retiring as a captain. Jay Curtis was in the Army, Noreen Mclellan was in the U.S. Air Force for four years (three in Germany), and James Bisacca was in the U.S. Navy for 20 years.

Carlos Lopez served on a different battlefield: mortgage finance, running sales teams and back office operations for Washington Mutual Bank, Countrywide Home Loans, and Bank of America. 

“I really enjoy the student interactions. I am blown away with the drive and determination some of the students have at such a young age here at DM,” said Lopez, who coaches soccer, baseball, and rugby in the community. “I sometimes forget that I am having conversations with such young people due to the fact they carry themselves in a very mature manner and know where they are going in life. 

“I wish I had a better idea where I was going at such a young age.”

Relationships ‘best part of the job’

But student safety is at the top of their job description. Basic duties for the guards include: covering their assigned area of campus for each hour of the school day, checking restrooms, ensuring doors are locked, answering radio calls.

Emergencies, medical purposes, student altercations, and staff requests ensure that every day is different.

Jay Curtis, the head of the security team, works closely with Mr. Cervantez and posts the athletic schedules, fills in the team with any information from the admin that they may need to know, and holds meetings with the team to discuss fire drills, lockdowns, and medical calls.  

“One’s work cannot be successful, rewarding, nor enjoyable without the support of amazing coworkers!” Mclellan said. “James, Dave, Carlos and Jay are truly a great team to work with.  Without their guidance, knowledge and continued support, I wouldn’t be able to come to DM daily and enjoy my responsibilities as a security guard.

“We are backed by a great administration and staff at our high school and together with my team, they are ‘the best part of the job.'”

‘The better the relationship, the easier the job’

Senior Max Seaverns said the security guards care more about just checking IDs–they care about students’ lives.

“Just the other day when I went to take my senior yearbook picture at the school,” Seaverns said, “and Carlos went out of his way to talk with me about what plans are for after high school.”

But there’s more, said DM’s guards, who are provide help to the students and build trusting relationships.

“Our relationships with the students is, in my opinion, the most important part of the job,” Fields said. “The better the relationship, the easier our job.”

Knowing students for their high school careers helps build that relationship.

“When someone is having a bad day I can tell as they are walking to the door. I always try to have a kind word or smile with everyone,” Fields said.  “We care about the students and a personally enjoy being a mentor and giving advice.”

And as students “get to know” the guards, “they understand that”, Bisacca said.

“All of us have children, all various ages,” he said, “so we have been there done that so to speak.”