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Meet SLAC's A.M. Security Guards

While many of us lie bundled in our beds, the morning main gate security guards are already warming their post. And even though we drive past them every day, their various duties can go unnoticed.

"Some people don't realize what we do every day—that we do more than check IDs," morning guard Riffi Khaliq said.

Along with partner Lehman Worrell or Rushell Reed, Khaliq reports to work by 6:00 a.m. each morning to relieve the guards who worked since 10:00 p.m. the night before. From the moment they arrive until their day ends, the guards balance responsibilities to ensure that anyone who needs help can receive it.

"I like doing different things all of the time," Khaliq said. "That's part of why I like my job so much."

Monitoring emergencies is of utmost importance at SLAC. The mild-mannered guards are not trained gunslingers or experts in martial arts, but their incident response is tops. Always, the guards listen for emergency beeps from their fire monitor and 9-1-1 direct-line telephone. They're responsible for dispatching the Engine 7 trucks in the event of a fire, and for making the telephone call to a 9-1-1 dispatcher during an emergency. "It's one of the most important parts of our job, and every minute counts," Khaliq said. "We're very proud of our accident response."

Checking each entrant's identification at the gate is one of their most visible duties. One guard watches cars enter SLAC, while the other monitors the 911 system inside the guard house. The guards spend a good part of each morning entering contractors' information into a database, then distributing it to concerned parties twice each day. They also provide assistance for a host of other tasks, including controlling traffic, reporting running car lights, answering phones, and giving directions to anyone who asks.

Ten years after Khaliq accepted a position at the guard house, she has scarcely missed a day of work. "People depend on me. They have to trust that I'll be here and that I'll do a good job," she said.

For Khaliq, work never gets old. "People are my passion. It makes me so happy to smile, say good morning, and make someone's day."

—Alison Drain, January 26, 2007

Above image: Morning guard Roshell Reed greets a driver at the security gate.