By Neil Sutton
The Association of Professional Security Agencies (APSA) has recognized two frontline security professionals for excelling in their careers, sometimes under difficult circumstances.
The awards, Security Guard of the Year and Security Guard Supervisor of the Year, were presented in Toronto on June 8 at a gathering attended by APSA’s board of directors.
Rodney McAlpine of Commissionaires Great Lakes was the recipient of Security Guard of the Year this year for his coolness under pressure and presence of mind.
McAlpine was on site a the Toronto correctional facility where he is employed when a stabbing incident occurred between two men on site. McAlpine was the first on the scene. He was able to stabilize the situation and asked a fellow security staff member to contact emergency services for police and ambulance response.
“Once we had control of that scene, I had control of the building and the area. My partner had called 911,” says McAlpine. “It seemed like an eternity, but it was four minutes. They came on scene, they came directly to where I was and I immediately handed over the scene.”
Police arrested the suspect without further incident and the victim was taken to hospital with serious multiple stab wounds. At the time of the award presentation, McAlpine said that the suspect was in custody at another correctional facility and was still awaiting trial.
Following the incident, McAlpine has since been promoted to chief ward officer and site supervisor. He says his first act was to promote his partner to corporal.
“He did a remarkable job. I can’t say enough about him. He’s steadfast.”
McAlpine credits his training and background for the way he handled the situation. McAlpine was formerly a 911 dispatcher and also has a history of military services. Others in his family have also served in the military and policing. His brother, a police officer, attended the award presentation. “I guess it’s instincts that I picked up from them. You stand up for your team mates, you stand up for the little guy, he says.
The Supervisor of the Year award was presented to Gord Coombes, site supervisor for Lambton College in Sarnia, Ont., and an employee of Lyndon Security Services, based in Hamilton, Ont.
Coombes, who has worked at Lambton since 2003 and has been supervisor since 2005, describes the college as an ideal place to work. “I would never was to go anywhere else,” he says.
Coombes says he enjoys meeting and interacting with students and the day-to-day rewards and challenges of looking after security on campus.
He says he wasn’t prepared for all the attention the award generated. “I just do my job to the best of my abilities. I was very surprised to receive this,” he says.
Coombes was initially told of the award while at work at the college. A roomful of 30 people were there to congratulate him, including Ernie Heines, president and general manager of Lyndon Security.
Coombes is the second recipient of the APSA Supervisor of the Year award, which was introduced by APSA last year.