In a college town, people sometimes have too much fun and peace has to be restored. Collegiate Security fills that role as a modern-day peacekeeper in the city of Oxford.
Petal native Kent Eddy, 40, is the co-founder of Collegiate Security, one of the first security businesses in Oxford. Eddy started the business in 1996 as a student at the University of Mississippi.
The former bouncer wanted to help keep the community safe, so he created the business with 20 employees. Today, he employs more than 200 who work Greek social events, private parties, apartment complexes and private clubs, among other things.
Collegiate Security charges clients per hour, and prices fluctuate depending on the customer’s needs. The number of employees depends on the event and how many people will be there.
There are at least six competing security businesses in Oxford now, but there was only one competitor when Eddy started his business.
“It has helped Oxford, as far as having the protection of security guards at event,” said Eddy, who works to make sure party-goers don’t “get too out of hand.”
Collegiate Security works with the University Police Department, the Oxford Police Department, and the Sheriff’s Department, depending on where the events they work take place.
Collegiate Security wear white T-shirts with a logo on the front and the word “security” on the back written in black. Supervisors have a blue T-shirt with the logo and “security” written in white.
Collegiate Security employs different people from all backgrounds.
“We like it when they do have some type of previous experience though, if they have worked security before, or (have a) military background or police. But we do hire people who don’t have experience and train them on hand.”
Oxford native, Lauren Morgan, 24, has been a Collegiate Security employee for the past three years. She had no prior security background and is now a supervisor, overseeing most events.
Morgan decides where to put the best person at a venue. She also handles problems.
“The best thing about working for Collegiate Security is getting to experience and interact with the college world and Greek life,” said Morgan.
Her hours diff sometimes depending on the event. She typically works from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. When she house watches for Greek houses on campus, her hours are from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
She said the hardest part of her job are the late hours and specific Greek functions, such as formals and field parties. There is pressure in making sure each client is safe.
Morgan said she enjoys working with Eddy.
“He always keeps us busy, and he can crack a joke with you at any point while remaining serious about his work,” Morgan said.
Collegiate Security’s busiest time is during football season and spring. Most of this is because of the Greek social calendar. During football season, most fraternities and sororities have swaps and require a security team. Most Greek formals and date parties that also require security happen in spring.
During football season, Collegiate Security has around 23 different events per week. Morgan said she works three to five events per week.
During the summer, the security team patrols five to 10 apartment complexes while some students are away for summer. They work the Blue’s Festival every year during the month of June.
Eddy said the toughest part of owning a security business is finding people to work the events.
“Also, making sure everything you do pleases your client, and making sure you put out a top-quality work environment for you, your employees, and also the clients,” said Eddy.
Eddy said he hopes to expand the business in the future.