Joshua Boulet, Features and Entertainment Editor
For 19 years now, Rick Morris has worked as North Greenville University’s (NGU) chief of campus security. Morris has taken the department from its infancy with only a few people to the substantial and well-trained department it is today.
“I came home from work and the mobile home in front of us was one fire,” Morris said.
One night in the 1970s, Morris returned to his home to find his neighbor’s home in flames. Worried that his neighbor might still be asleep, Morris crawled into the trailer to pull him out. Soon, a firefighter pulled Morris out and he realized that his neighbor had already made it outside.
“He came over and asked me why did I go into the mobile home. I said ‘because I thought my friend was in there. Thought he was asleep, so I went into get him.’ He said kind of stern ‘well come by the department later and I’ll get you some equipment.’” Morris said.
This kickstarted Morris’ career as a volunteer firefighter. He was already working as an EMS dispatcher at the time as well, which left him with plenty of work to do.
“Being in the fire service, it’s kind of like acquiring a taste for a certain type of food. You either love it or you don’t. I really enjoyed doing it.” Morris said.
After some years in the EMS, he quit and started his career as a fireman full time for several more years.
As time passed, Morris looked for a change of pace and he was offered a job as a campus security officer at Furman University. He accepted and worked there for the next 13 years. He moved between jobs, gained experience and got hired at NGU as the chief of campus security in the year 2001.
While the position was a step up in status, the department had a limited scope. There was a lady working day shift, a man on third shift, a few students and himself that made up the entire department. No one day can be singled out as a turning point for the department, but major events happened, and changes would gradually stack up over time.
Much has changed over the years and Morris doesn’t plan on slowing down. Other campus security officers also see Morris’ goals and priorities reflected in his work.
“He’s very personable. He cares about us a lot. He’s trying to do what he can to make sure that we’re ready for whatever today throws at us.” Jenna Wilson said.
“He’s very future oriented.” Tommy Corley said.
Many NGU students already know of the K-9-unit dog, Stoki, who had to retire all to soon for health reasons. The K-9 unit was an idea Morris supported. Even though Stoki left quickly, Morris made sure to support a new dog so that the department wouldn’t go backwards.
In just the last 2 years, the department has received much recognition. Morris was one of the 10 finalists for Campus Safety Magazine’s director of the year. The National Association of Campus Safety Administrators also gave Morris the award for 2018 Chief of the year – Non-Sworn.
“In the performance of doing his duty for the University, Chief Morris has kept his priorities balanced, never forgetting his duty, but including his faith, family and friends.” They said in their award statement.