Credit unions today cannot afford to expect busy tellers, loan officers, administrative or clerical staff to individually or collectively provide security for our credit union offices. They do not have the time or the expertise to take on that responsibility as they did in the past.
One of our credit unions protects its employees and members by maintaining professional security officers and is fortunate to have "S.R." as one of them. She relates kindly with all who enter the doors or parking areas while being alert to problem situations.
S. R. is 6 feet, 8 inches tall, blond, broad-shouldered and has a friendly smile when a smile is needed. She appears to have an even taller stature along with an authoritative voice when one is essential. A requirement for a security officer is the personality and ability to quickly change from the friendly, kind greeter to a firm and stern officer. S.R. does that especially well.
Prior to becoming a security officer in 1983, S.R. served in the U.S. Air Force. Her most memorable occasion was the time that she was among the guards who maintained security at the United Nations when major leaders of various countries participated in the U.N. meetings.
After receiving an honorable discharge, she used her experience and knowledge to begin a career in 1983 as a security guard and has served in that capacity at major financial institutions. Now she protects both members and staff at one of two branches of a Portland, Ore., credit union.
Today cities abound with homeless people who often trespass on private property. S.R. and her partner confront them, both inside and outside of the building. "First, I approach the individual with kindness, but if the trespasser is oppositional, I speak and act with authority to solve the problem. If he doesn't leave voluntarily, my partner and I take appropriate action," said S.R.
Recently, she became aware that a trespasser was "doing his business" in the parking lot behind a rhododendron bush. She stood tall, arms folded and called out to remind him that he was on private property. Apparently, she scared him speechless as he grabbed onto his pants and ran past her as if he had seen a giant security officer. After the incident and at her request, the rhododendron bush was removed.
S.R. spends most of her day standing at the door of the credit union, but she has a second life that keeps her on the go evenings and weekends. "Training and competing with my thoroughbred horse is the favorite part of my life. Together we have won many ribbons and championships. Riding doesn't hurt my knees like standing most of the day or walking on asphalt and concrete."
At the credit union, S.R. is prepared to deal with serious encounters. A good judge of character, she works in sync with her partner to prevented robberies. "One day, we had a scary situation. As expected, our employees ducked behind their desks and counters so we could do our job. The criminal rushed out the door where chasing and arresting him was the responsibility of the police."
"My job is to protect our people, not arrest criminals. I stayed with them after he left. I have never lost any of my people because I focus on their safety," said the tall, kind authority who serves effectively-just doing her job.
Ann Patterson, Member
OnPoint Credit Union, Portland, Ore.