Security StudiesHomeland Security students developed safety plans for a community serving developmentally disabled adults.
Students from the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University will help keep clients at Bridgewood Farms safe and secure on their sprawling 53-acre campus in northern Montgomery County.
As part of an Academic Community Engagement class, graduate students in the Homeland Security Studies program developed a security site plan for Bridgewood Farms, which serves teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through residential and day programs. The programs include adult continuing education, vocational training, social and recreational activities, horticulture, ceramics, and physical education.
“Visiting Bridgewood Farms reminded me just how important it is to engage with the community around me,” said Jordan Edwards, a student in the class. “This ACE project, I believe, is a great way for the students in our Homeland Security program to give back in a way that is specific to our own passions.”
The ACE course, Security and Management, focused on managing security for an organization or business to protect the people and the assets that are a part of it. The course investigated the use of technology and security applications as part of daily and crisis operations. The class received a guest lecture and assistance from Terry King, a security industry professional, who guided them through the practical aspects of developing a plan.
The plan included a site survey both during the day and during overnight hours; crime statistics for the area; and information on adjoining properties. The site plan addressed all known and perceived threats to the property, the top concerns of management, the operations of the facility around the clock, the culture of the organization, creative and best practices, and solutions addressed through policies and procedures and operational support.
“Mainly, we are looking overall at the safety of the facility and what we can do to improve it on a low budget by providing practical tips and help,” said Clay Martin, a student in the class.
Instructor Dr. Jim Dozier said the ACE project provided hands-on application of what students learned in class and allowed them to contribute their time and talents to the community.
“You can go out and practice what you learn,” said Brooklynn Mayfield, another student. “You can go out and help the community.”
Student Matthew Myers said whole process was a humbling experience.
“They were very happy-go-lucky and very welcoming,” said Myers of the Bridgewood community.
Martin said the ACE project is one of his favorite parts of the Homeland Security Studies program.
“Most of my education has felt very inward focused and is rewarding to start using what I am learning to help benefit the community.” Martin said. “Everyone has done community service at one time or another, but this project really feels like I am making a difference. Seeing first-hand what Bridgewood Farms is doing for the clients they work with is not only humbling, but shows that people that care can come together and make a difference. I had no idea that we were doing an ACE coming into this program and it is something I will talk about whenever I bring up Sam Houston or the Homeland Security program as a proud accomplishment.”