Chief Morris Named Director of the Year Finalist
Campus Safety magazine has released its finalists for the 2018 Director of the Year award for healthcare, school, and university public safety, security, and emergency management professionals. North Greenville University’s Campus Security Chief Rick Morris has been selected as one of the ten finalists. Those who made the cut hail from all over the United States, from New Jersey to California, Texas to Minnesota and all points in between.
Morris has been chief of NGU Campus Security since 2001. During his 16-year tenure, NGU has grown from an enrollment of 1,379 to over 2,550. Included in this growth, the university has expanded to house approximately 1,700 male and female resident students and has developed satellite campuses to house the growing graduate school, NGU Online, and physician’s assistant programs.
“Being recognized as a finalist for Director of the Year by Campus Safety magazine is an honor,” said Campus Security Chief Rick Morris. “Seeing the bios of the other finalists was very humbling.”
Prior to NGU, Morris was chief of security for the Governor’s School of Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC, a security officer at Furman University in Greenville, SC, where he rose to the rank of master patrolman, and a paramedic for Greenville County, receiving the Paramedic of the Year Award in 1980.
In a recommendation letter written by Master Sergeant Charles Snook of NGU Campus Security, Snook says that “Morris has strong knowledge of the law, practice, and procedures of law enforcement and emergency personnel protocols. 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.”
As NGU has grown, so has its campus security department.
When Morris began working for the university, the department consisted of only three staff members. Now, the department is an armed para-law enforcement agency, offering 24 hours a day, seven days a week on-duty service, protection, and law enforcement.
The agency employs thirteen full-time officers, most with specialized skills including one K-9 officer with a certified police detector dog, a full time certified training officer and seven work-study students that assist with various functions.
In addition to managing the staff, Morris oversees the transportation department which maintains most of the university’s fleet of buses and scheduling the transportation of athletic teams, class, and department field trips. As the chief law enforcement officer of a NCAA Division II institution, he oversees all operations related to enforcement of all local, state and federal laws applicable to a college/university environment. He plans and manages all athletic, cultural and academic events related to traffic, parking and site security.
“Working with Rick Morris over the last 11 years has a shown me he is a man who loves the Lord, his family, and North Greenville University,” says Vice President for Student Life Dr. Tony Beam. “He cares deeply about the security of our campus, and he is constantly looking for new ways to enhance our security.”
Under Morris’ leadership, the department has developed substantial intra-agency support from the county sheriff and local municipalities, with which they regularly conduct tactical and operational training exercises. He implemented a policy and procedure manual for the department, general orders and use of force policy, including training concerning the rules instituted in the manuals, a merit based rank structure in the department and a digital report writing, record archival system that interfaces with the state department of public safety.
He also initiated an online parking permit purchasing/traffic citation program, which increased student compliance and increased revenue. This system also greatly reduced the physical manpower required to process these activities manually. With this system, parking enforcement, ticket issuance and collections are simplified.
With the addition of a K-9 officer and police detector dog, Morris developed and implemented regulations and procedures for use and deployment of a canine on the university campus. These regulations can be used on any college campus.
Chief Morris has brought opportunities to the university to host special training events from outside agencies. In recent years, agencies included Greenville County Sherriff’s Office S.W.A.T. Teams, GLOCK Armorer’s Course, multi-agency active shooter training led by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (S.L.E.D.), and a four day training event led by Captain John Gardner, now retired, of the Travelers Rest Police Department and involving law enforcement agencies all over South Carolina. This and other training were certified training sessions.
Also, Morris has overseen university emergency response drills involving multiple law enforcement agencies, including Greenville County Sherriff’s Office and fire/rescue agencies, including Tigerville Fire Department, Glassy Mountain Fire Department, Lake Cunningham Fire Department, Greenville County EMS, Greenville County Coroner’s Office, emergency flight helicopters, and medical agencies. At all these events, NGU Office of Campus Security personnel were invited to participate in the training. In incident response training, NGU officers, under the direction of Chief Morris, planned and directed training responses and after-action evaluations.
Chief recently participated in a national webinar sponsored by the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators (NACSA). He was instrumental in developing a joint dispatch system, a collaborative effort involving NGU Campus Security, Furman University Police Department, and Queen’s University of Charlotte, NC to provide 24-hour dispatch capability to all three agencies. This concept was a first for different agencies sharing a dispatch service.
“Since 2001, my goal has been to set the vision of who and what NGU campus security should be, so that because of the work ethic and professionalism of the officers under my charge, other agencies would look to us as a model to imitate,” said Morris. “In 2001, we were no more than a very rudimentary night watch operation at best. Today, we are recognized as the law enforcement agency of record for the NGU community by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, and have the best trained agency of our type in the region.”
The winner and runner-ups will be announced at Campus Safety Conference East, which will be held July 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency Dulles in Herndon, Va. Complete coverage of all the recipients will appear this fall in Campus Safety magazine and on CampusSafetyMagazine.com.
Chief Morris said, “Although this recognition is for Director of the Year, I think it goes beyond that. Whoever receives the top spot, if they are honest, they will acknowledge that this is really about the Campus Security Agency of the Year; because it is the officers of the NGU Office of Campus Security that has made me successful. To them, I offer my heartfelt thanks and support.”