Many businesses in Northeast Mississippi hire extra help in ensuring safety.
“Our main objective is to protect our clients as well as their assets,” said David Yancy, Tupelo area supervising manager of Capital Security Services. “There are people in the community that may be visitors or even residents, and we want to ensure that they stay protected.”
Capital Security Services is a private security company based out of Jackson and serves regional locations in both Mississippi and Louisiana. In the Tupelo area, Capital serves multiple venues, including the Mississippi welcome centers in Itawamba and Alcorn counties and the Magnolia Bingo Hall in Tupelo.
“Our first goal is to keep our clients safe,” said Harold Rager, Capital Security supervisor at Magnolia Bingo Hall. “We are on scene, so we are there way before police in the instance of an emergency.”
Private security company employees like Rager, who has worked at Magnolia Bingo Hall for three years, see a wide variety of action in a day’s work. There are even some entertaining aspects to the job.
“When I was working at another site once, some police officers drove through and were shining their spotlight,” he recalled. “It turned out that they had gotten reports of a naked woman running around. That is probably the craziest thing I’ve experienced.”
Most security guards carry guns as a “last resort” in threatening situations, according to Capital Security officials.
“I’ve never had to use my gun,” Rager said as he looked down towards his belt holster. “I do keep it on me at all times, though.”
In addition to privately contracted security companies, both the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and the Tupelo Police Department allow their officers to work as security guards off the clock.
“We allow our officers to work individually as non-enforcement officers,” Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said. “While we don’t allow our officers to work for other agencies, we do allow our officers to provide protection off duty.”