“We’re More Than Just The Guys With The Keys”: The Professional Identity of Campus Security at an Atlantic Canadian University
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Currently there is little research on in-house campus security. Thus far literature has only looked at campus police and non-campus security organizations. This ethnography explores the professional identity and role of campus security officers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Through the ethnographic approach of participant observation ride-alongs and interviews, the researcher examines the organizational structure, social norms and perspectives of Dalhousie Security personnel. Findings suggest that security officers view their professional identity through a lens of role multi-functionality. Dalhousie Security has shifted its philosophy towards a more complex community-oriented approach and are unlike campus police who are tied to an identity of law enforcement, the community-oriented approach complements campus security’s multifunctional identity and has lead to greater integration into the university community and improved professional role satisfaction among security officers. This ethnography contributes valuable anthropological insight to the research on private security and security on university campuses.