Every day, trained security personnel work to keep members of the Harvard-Westlake (HW) community safe. This article aims to introduce the students to the trained personal behind the badge.
Ron, a former family security officer who preferred not to share his last name, had been in the business of protection for 15 years before learning about his current position at HW through a mutual friend. He successfully completed Executive Protection (EP) training in order to qualify for this job. Ron finds his work at HW somewhat less challenging than his previous work and enjoys interacting with students. He believes that being personable is an important aspect of what he does due to the constant changes, big events and important guests he encounters. As Ron was being interviewed there were constantly people passing the security booth. Some were happily and casually speaking to him and others just passed through, but he continued to carry himself with a smile for each person.
Although approachability is important, it comes second to the responsibility of keeping everyone safe.
“At the end of the day it’s a big responsibility…you are really tasked with the safety and security of the faculty and the kids,” Ron said.
There are over 750 students on our lower school campus whose safety is entrusted solely to the security personnel. However, this does not intimidate Ron.
“I don’t feel overburdened with it because it’s what I do,” Ron stated in response.
When he isn’t on duty, Ron is a caretaker of horses. He rides, trains and shows his own horses. This takes him across the country and allows him to win several “buckle” awards, appear on television shows, and be featured on magazine covers.
“I have done some very unique things involving horses that I had never dreamed possible,” said Ron.
Working alongside Ron is Leonard Sterling, who has been with HW for the past three and a half years. His previous company recommended him for the position at HW. Before this, Sterling was stationed at the Treasure Island navy base but never had war experience. Afterwards, beginning in 1970, he was a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Force. This qualified him to carry a weapon for the protection of our school. After being shot in the line of duty, he recovered for three months and ultimately decided to retire.
According to Sterling, he began to get into the school security business because of his love of working with children.
“I love young people and working with their minds. . .I’m there for you young guys and girls…My job is to make sure [that] one: you should be on the property, [and] two. . . all of you young people get to go to school and get an education,” Sterling said.
Born in what he refers to as the “rough neighborhood” of south central Los Angeles, he seemed to move towards the line of duty in hopes of helping the lives of others. Though he has been through a lot in his life to get to the place where he is today, he still has a very positive message to relay.
“I’ve been through ups and downs… but it doesn’t matter where you come from; it doesn’t matter how you dress…I treat everybody the same,” Sterling said. He was absent from school for several months while recovering from shoulder replacement surgery; however, he returned to HW on May 13.
Fun Facts Section:
– Before their hiring, HW security must to have been either a police officer or sheriff.
– A majority of the night shift security are off-duty cops.
– Each of our security officers possesses a gun.
– According to Advanced Security Concepts, Inc., people with EP training like Ron are “capable of carrying out the highest level of security for executives and VIPs.” This includes anything from driving and motor security to violent employees incidents at the workplace.