Mike McGinn works for Fordham University’s Safety & Security team and is currently the head security supervisor.
“The Safety and Security team is an effective security program relies upon the active participation of every student, faculty and staff member. Here at Fordham your personal safety is most important. With your assistance and cooperation we will provide the services, staffing and guidance to achieve that end. The members of the Security Department are committed to your personal safety. We have allocated the resources necessary to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus community. The policies, procedures and programs of Fordham University have been designed and implemented to contribute, with your participation and cooperation, to attaining the highest level of safety and security possible. Security is always a shared responsibility.”
Q: How long have you worked here?
A: This is my sixth year at Fordham University.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I actually grew up right around here in the Bronx.
Q: Do you remember what street you lived on?
A: I grew up on Prospect Avenue. It’s not too far off of Fordham Road.
Q: My father grew up on Prospect Avenue! Did you know an Anthony Carter?
A: That’s funny. No, I don’t recognize that name but we probably crossed paths before.
Q: That is funny. How much has the Bronx changed since you were a kid growing up here?
A: The Bronx has definitely improved. Growing up there were a lot more gangs and violence than there is now. I remember there was a big blackout in the Bronx and everything became chaotic. Homes and stores were being broken into and I remember my father had to sit outside on the porch with a rifle in order to protect our family.
Q: Growing up right around the area, how much of an influence did that play on your decision to work security at Fordham?
A: It definitely played a big role. It helped being familiar with my surroundings already and understanding the dangers and problems in the area.
Q: What does a normal day at work consist of?
A: Well, I wake up every day at 4:30 in order to be at work at 6:30. I usually work 12-hour shifts. I am the security supervisor so I’m usually inside the office overseeing all security actions. I am in charge of coordinating who needs to go where and what needs to be taken care of.
Q: What are some of the procedures security is doing to help make campus safer?
A: As far as off campus, the Ram Van is more accessible in areas students commonly use. There is a shuttle to pick students up from the D train and bring them back on campus. On campus, there is always a security on patrol and late at night there is someone driving the Ram Van around the surrounding areas off campus.
Q: What is the process for handling student complaints?
A: Every complaint is taken down in a private record book. Depending on the severity of the crime it is either handled internally or reported to the NYPD for a more thorough investigation if necessary.
Q: What is the best part of your job? What is the worst?
A: The worst part is working the night shift on weekends. Often times you’ll end up dealing with intoxicated students who need to sent to the hospital. The best part is being able to provide my children with an education while at the same time protecting them.
Q: You have 3 children at Fordham, correct?
A: Yes, I have two sons and a daughter. My oldest son Sean is a junior and my twins, Danny and Maureen, are sophomores. I also have another daughter Maeve who is a freshman in high school.
Q: Do you think you will still be working at Fordham when it’s time for Maeve to go to college?
A: I hope so. I have no intentions of leaving my position at Fordham in the near future.
Q: Do you work only on the Rose Hill campus?
A: No, I also work shifts at Lincoln Center.
Q: Which campus do you prefer? Why?
A: Definitely Rose Hill. There is much more going on at this campus and I like to stay busy. Lincoln Center is very quiet during the days and a high level of security is never really needed.
Q: What did you do before you worked security at Fordham?
A: I was an NYPD officer in Harlem in the narcotics division.
Q: What was your position in the NYPD?
A: I was a private for my first 3 years. The next 20 I worked as a sergeant.
Q: You were there for a long time, why did you leave?
A: It was just about that time to move on. After 20 years in service, I wanted to do something different and spend more time closer to my family.
Q: How have your experiences from the NYPD helped you prepare for Fordham security issues?
A: I’ve been trained very well to react in fight or flight situations and I understand what steps need to be taken to protect the Fordham community.
Q: What was the craziest situation you’ve encountered at Fordham?
A: A few years ago there was student who drank excessively and had to be taken to Saint Barnabas hospital. Upon admission to the hospital, the student was placed onto a bed and hooked to monitors to ensure his safety. When the nurses and doctors left the room, the student removed the equipment and escaped the hospital by climbing over a tall fence. On landing, he broke both his ankles and we had to search for him in the Bronx for a while. Luckily, he crawled to a nearby convenience store and was found unharmed. Except for his broken ankles.
Q. Do you hope one day to become the head of security at Fordham University?
A: It would be a nice honor to hold that position, but I am very happy with the position I hold now as security supervisor.