by Noah Tang
The Campus Security department helps to keep Cedarville University safe (as crimes still occur here in the cornfields). It includes several full-time and part-time officers. Full-timers are senior-ranking officers while part-time officers include student officers, who are called cadet officers.
Junior criminal justice major William Geist has served on Campus Security as a cadet officer for almost two years, including breaks. He joined Campus Security because “it is a unique way to serve my fellow students and help keep them safe.”
Geist’s family experiences have led him to this position. “Both of my grandfathers were in the military,” he said. “My dad’s dad was a military policeman. I wanted to be a pilot until eighth grade, but math and science are not my favorite subjects. But I was always interested in government, and I like keeping order and peace and serving others.”
Sergeant Jeffrey Davenport has served in the department for three and a half years. He is a patrol sergeant and leads the evening shift team.
He shares, “It was a series of events the Lord worked in my life. I had worked in pastoral ministry for over 20 years. The Lord opened up a position here in security and I saw it as a place where I could serve Him in His kingdom effort.”
Regarding the people-oriented nature of the job, he adds, “The Lord has made me to be a relational person.”
Campus Security has many responsibilities. According to Geist, they include giving guests directions, escorting individuals upon request, enforcing parking and traffic regulations, locking and unlocking buildings, and dealing with medical emergencies.
Although they may look and function as law enforcement, Campus Security is a private security force. This distinction is very important because Campus Security officers are not sworn officers of the law. They work in parallel with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
The department also has procedures for dealing with a deadly attack. According to Davenport and Geist, an officer’s responsibilities in such an event depend on his or her rank. Armed officers are trained to directly engage and stop potential threats. Cadet officers are primarily responsible for “assist and evacuate,” but armed officers may do so as well. And local law enforcement must always be contacted for assistance immediately.
Davenport explains, “In Campus Security, we are blessed with the charge to protect and serve in the literal sense: We protect with a consistent security presence. We protect the safety of the student body, in part by the enforcement of campus policies. We serve as disciples of Christ in the modeling of doing life together with the student body.”
“Our goal is also to align with the University’s educational mission, and thus to engage in a certain level of discipleship and encouragement with students in addition to our normal roles as officers,” Geist adds.
Moreover, discipleship and fellowship are also present within the department. Bible studies, prayer meetings and worship nights are commonplace. Davenport calls them “family meetings.”
Geist states, “We want to strive for the best relationship we can have with our community, so we can serve them excellently.”
Davenport says, “I love my Lord, and I love the students at Cedarville. And I want them to know what a blessing they are in my life.”
Geist also shares his story on the Cedarville Stories Podcast, which is available on Spotify.
Noah Tang is a graduate student majoring in Biblical Leadership, and a writer for Cedars. He likes to spend time with friends, study theology and watch movies.