Boone Center security team trains to keep employees safe

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Photos by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Boone National Guard Center Security Chief Larry McCord briefs Marcus Evans and Ginger Starrett before a shooting exercise at the Frankfort Police Department small arms range. The team trains regularly with other agencies such as the Frankfort PD, Kentucky State Police bomb squad and federal homeland security.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Longtime employees and visitors at the Boone Nation Guard Center in Frankfort have noticed significant changes at the facility over the years, what with increased unit activity and various construction projects. This is something to be expected considering the expanded role of the Kentucky Guard both overseas and here at home.

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One of the most obvious — and often misunderstood — of these changes is at the front gate. Long gone are the days of the open post concept; today’s post-9/11 reality includes presenting a photo ID and going through a security check on the way to the office.

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Security specialist Ginger Starrett takes aim with her M-9 pistol under the supervision of Larry McCord.

“Our main mission and goal is to protect the personnel and assets on this facility,” said Larry McCord, supervisor of the Boone Center Security Force. “It sounds like a simple task, but there’s a lot more to it than most people can even begin to imagine.”

It used to be that the public image of security was Barney with his bullet in his pocket getting a cat out of the tree. The fact of the matter is that the face of security has transformed dramatically in the past decade. The rise in domestic terrorism and workplace violence make the days of criminal mischief and vandalism almost seem nostalgic.

“Today we have groups that don’t like the military,” said McCord. “This isn’t just overseas, but right here at home. At any given moment someone who wants to do us damage. We’re here to stop them.”

And while you’ll see the team conducting patrols around the facility and making visits to the various buildings, McCord says the first line of defense at Boone Center is the front gate, better known as the access control point.

“Our team deals with the public every single day, 24/7,” he said. “They’ve got to have the right mindset and public awareness to do this job, to know what going on in the vehicle and the people coming through the gate.”

BNGC security award presentation Oct 22, 2012

Mike Jones, executive director of the Office of Management and Administration looks on while Security Chief Larry McCord receives the Patriot Award from James Comer, are chair for Employer Support of Guard and Reserve. The Boone Center security team is a staunch supporter of those members who serve in the Kentucky National Guard. (Photo by David Altom)

The team’s training is among the best available, said McCord. “We work with the Kentucky State Police bomb squad, the Frankfort police department, Department of Defense police at Fort Knox and even federal homeland security.”

“Every part of training we do is imperative to our mission,” said Brady Murphy, security shift supervisor. “There’s never enough training. Everything we do makes us the force we are today. We’re always hungry for more.”

The quality of the training is an important factor in team morale and performance, said security specialist Ginger Starrett.

“We are definitely better qualified and better prepared to do our job,” she said. “Knowing that we have world class training gives us the confidence to do the job right.”

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Security Chief Larry McCord watches on as Eddie Monheimer (foreground) and Brady Murphy run through the M-9 pistol qualification course.

The security team has been recognized as one of the best in the world by the Department of Defense and was recently nominated for the Governor’s Ambassador Award. It’s also received the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for supporting team members who belong to the Kentucky National Guard.

But when the dust clears their focus is specifically on their security mission.

“We never take our eyes off our mission,” McCord emphasized. “Our goal is to respond in to a crisis here at Boone Center in a matter of minutes to save lives and take care of our people. We take that very seriously.”

“We have to be right 100% of the time,” said McCord. “The bad guys have to be right just once. We can’t do it all or see it all, but I guarantee our team will do its best.”

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