By JOHN LAURITSEN
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — To keep Hennepin County buildings safe, 53 security officers are on patrol at any given time. They don’t carry guns but they work to de-escalate situations and in a number of situations, they’ve helped save lives.
“When you see a person in uniform, a lot of times you think of enforcement. And what we really drive for is customer service,” said Luda Trandafilava, senior administrative manager.
From helping somebody with directions to crisis intervention, Hennepin County security officers all have the same uniform, but wear many hats. And their efforts are now getting recognized with ribbons.
“When it’s a white ribbon it means the officer saved somebody’s life,” said Trandafilava.
As a way to connect, when people enter county buildings and see the ribbons, they’re encouraged to ask security officers about them. Because every ribbon has a story.
Security officer Mike Beaty earned his white ribbon by saving the life of a person who had a drug overdose. He was bleeding and unconscious outside a county building, so Beaty responded quickly and administered Narcan. As a result, the man survived and made a full recovery.
“Everything is on you and you revert to your training, because you don’t have time to think,” said Beaty.
His blue ribbon is for helping to solve a car theft case. His green ribbon is for helping to save the life of a suicidal man.
“In our line of work, we can go from standing here and in the next moment we can have someone overdose, unconscious, heart attack, medical,” said Beaty.
They also help homeless people who come into county buildings, by giving them food or clothing.
The ribbons are like badges of honor. But Beaty and his fellow security officers say they’re really here for the love of the job.
“I liken it like a bartender – I’m a doctor, lawyer, priest, I’m all of the above. And it’s the variety that I like,” said Beaty.
To get a ribbon, security dispatchers and officers are nominated by their co-workers for going above and beyond.
Security officers patrol 30 Hennepin County buildings.
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