After nearly 35 years on the job, you’d think that John “Casey” Shepherd, a sergeant with Akron Children’s security department, had seen it all, but he says each day is different and unpredictable.
Shepherd works the 4 p.m.-midnight shift at the hospital’s Akron campus. The second shift appeals to Shepherd because it allows him to be home during the day with his children while his wife is at work.
Shepherd’s wife, Janet, works as a secretary in Children’s pain center. She has been a Children’s employee for more than 25 years.
Although their children are now grown with families of their own, Shepherd still enjoys the evening shift.
After getting a quick update from the day-shift sergeant, Shepherd holds a brief meeting with all the second-shift security officers at the start of the shift.
“We go over anything that has happened since our previous shift and then hand out assignments,” he said.
The officers are assigned rotating 2-hour shifts in the dispatch area, patrolling the hospital on foot or driving around the many buildings of the Akron campus.
About 55 miles away, Natalie Krenciprock works as a security officer at Akron Children’s Beeghly campus in Boardman. The hospital in Mahoning Valley has 32 inpatient beds and more than 500 employees, giving Krenciprock and her fellow officers plenty to do.
On this day, Krenciprock starts her shift patrolling the Beeghly campus on foot.
“Sometimes we are the first person a family has contact with when they come to Beeghly,” she said. “They may need directions or just have a question, and I always try to be friendly and helpful. I want our visitors to know they are welcome and help them feel at ease.”
As Krenciprock makes her way around the hospital, she checks in with various departments to see if there are any problems.
“While it’s unusual for us to have security issues with our patients’ family members, it’s important for the departments to know that they can call on us if anything occurs,” she said.
Krenciprock finishes up her 2-hour patrolling shift and heads into dispatch. Whether at the Beeghly or Akron campus, the duties of the dispatch center remain the same.
“The officer assigned to the dispatch area is responsible for keeping track of the other officers’ whereabouts,” said Shepherd. “Dispatch also takes calls when someone needs access to a locked door or if an employee or visitor needs an escort to their car. We also help out with a ‘jump’ if someone has a dead battery. We really try to do whatever we can to help ease the stress of our visitors.”
Back at Beeghly, Krenciprock is busy in dispatch answering and logging calls, checking in with her fellow officers and issuing badges to new employees. The time passes quickly and soon it’s her turn to patrol the Beeghly campus in a security car.
The hospital is expecting a visit from “Air Bear,” the hospital’s transport helicopter, so she heads that way to direct traffic.
“I really enjoy the people I work with,” said Krenciprock, who attended Youngstown State University and graduated from ITT Technical Institute with a degree in criminal justice. “And it’s so much fun working in a children’s hospital. Being around the kids makes me feel like a kid again myself.”
Shepherd also points to his fellow employees as a reason he enjoys working at Children’s.
“I work with a diverse and dedicated group of individuals who are all committed to the safety and security of the children,” he said. “I’m surprised how fast these years have passed − and I’m sure that’s because I enjoy coming to work each day.”
Learn more about the career opportunities at Akron Children’s.