68-year-old James Simmons works with BOS Security at the College Avenue parking deck located in Downtown Athens, Georgia. Simmons has only been with BOS Security for 2 years, and private security for 3 years, but he has made his mark on the people that use the parking deck under his watch. From ensuring the general safety of the patrons of the deck to helping regulars keep tabs on where they parked, Simmons is constantly looking out for others.
Simmons lives in Carnesville, Georgia just about 45 minutes outside of Athens, with his wife of 26 years. He has seven great grandchildren, three of which are in the area and four of which are in Germany. The four that live overseas reside with Simmons’ Granddaughter whose husband is currently deployed there. The family got deployed just after Thanksgiving 2018, which was the last time that Simmons says all seven of his Great Grandchildren were together. Different from last year, there are no holiday plans including the whole family this year as Simmons says the deployment is set to last three years.
James starts his shift 12 hour night shift with a thorough patrol of his deck, walking up the ramp of the deck making sure mainly that cars are not being broken into and homeless people aren’t loitering in the staircases. Simmons says that one of the biggest problems in his deck is people loitering on the top floor of the deck. It is one of the highest points in Athens, so Simmons says people like to take pictures here and watch the sunset. As you can expect Simmons has to make sure that these patrons exit the deck and don’t continue to loiter.
When he is not doing rounds, Simmons has an office with a monitor where he can see what is going on around the deck in real-time. The time that Simmons spends in the office is minimal though, as he walks on average 10 miles to 14 miles in just one of his shifts.
Simmons has a genuine want to keep the patrons of his deck safe. This extends to keeping incidents from escalating. To do this, he adopted a security philosophy straight from the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie “Roadhouse.”
“I want you to be nice, until it’s time to not be nice,” Simmons quoted.
What I do matters because… “I am there to protect people and I’m there to make sure that people are confident that they can get to their destination, and see me and be confident that they’re taken care of. I am there.. As much as I can, I’m going to take care of them.”
The most rewarding part of my job is…”I would say the relationship that I have with the customers. There are two ladies that work..one lady that works around the corner and I find out where her car is when I come in and I go around to her shop and remind her where she has parked, because she has a hard time remembering where she parks. There’s another lady that does cleanup every Monday night and she is the custodian and I make sure I know where she is, sometimes I go back to her shop and escort her back to her car.” “I like being a professional. I do my job professionally, and I just enjoy the relationships I’ve developed with the people I work with.”
What are you most proud of at work? “That people can be more confident when I’m around. I get a lot of satisfaction from that.”
By: Jared Eggleston