By: Salina Sanders
Born and raised in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, David Wylie was an infantry officer for the United States Marine Corps for four years. After that, he was a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a career he dedicated 30 years to. 10 of those years were spent as a sniper on the FBI SWAT team. In 2014, at the age of 54, David retired and found a job in security shortly after. David has two sons, one who goes to the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and one still in high school.
After his retirement, David felt he was too young to sit around at home. He wanted something to do that would allow him to continue helping and protecting people. Having such an accomplished career in law enforcement, helping others is a part of David’s personality that he’s always had, and he knew he still belonged at a job that would give him the ability to continue making people feel safe. Like David says, “It’s not like I was going to go work in sales!”
A typical day for David starts at around 5:00 in the morning. After getting ready, he heads to work at Piedmont College, where his shift begins at 6:00 a.m. During the day, he patrols the grounds of the college and waits by the reception desk to greet everyone who comes in the front doors. David also interacts with staff and students on the campus, and occasionally has to handle incidents like parking disputes, fights, or strangers roaming around the campus.
What I do matters because… You know, I have kids in school. One’s at UGA and one’s in high school, and you hear about all these school shootings that are always happening. I guess I just want to be in a position to help the students if it ever were to happen here. I want to be there for them and have them know that there’s someone nearby who knows what to do if something were to happen. I’m there to protect them, these people are my responsibility.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part is being appreciated by the people that I’m there to protect. They read the news, and every day there’s a school shooting somewhere, or something’s going on in Athens. Just a few weeks ago a student was shot in Athens, and for me to know that it makes them feel a little better for me to be on campus with them is pretty rewarding. Yeah, that’s a great feeling.
What are you most proud of at work? Well, there’s a lot of stereotypes with security guards, you know, that they’re just a random guy with a badge and that they’re incapable. I’m proud that I can overcome that, and have someone say “Wow, you’re actually in law enforcement, you’re someone I can trust to protect me.” I’m proud when I can win over people and know that they put their faith in me to keep them safe and to do my job.