Paul Blart, Grinnell College newest Security Office, looks apprehensively at the obstacle course laid before him.
“I’ve been told it would be tough.” he says. “But I’m surrounded by some of the best, and they’ll help me get through this.”
The obstacle course Paul is referring to is just one of the many intensive training exercises Grinnell College has its officers do as part of the annual week of Security Review Operation, a series of events intended to “train, teach, and above all, prepare officers for any eventuality that might arise.”
The tasks, meant to both teach and test Grinnell Security Officers, are set to be progressively more difficult as the week elapses. Monday saw officers coloring within the lines in a coloring book, but Friday had staff take a 20 minute multiple choice test on what dogs are and on the difference between townies and brownies.
“I don’t feel secure on campus unless I know that our security staff won’t let a townie disguised in a big brown cardboard box into Dhall. We can’t let ’68 happen again.” proclaimed President Raybaybay.
We accompanied Grinnell Security forces on their Saturday night test. Security officers arrive early at the designated location, each garbed head to toe in black and armed with a set of throwing knives on their left leg. A cool breeze whips through the air. Raybaybay is on the roof in a dark suit and pitch-black shades, holding a stopwatch. He takes of his sunglasses, examining them, “You know what these are? These are my ray-bans. My ray bans are…sexy, hip, mysterious, …and that’s why I love them. If they fail me…we have a problem” and he crushes them with one hand. “Tonight, you are no longer selfish individuals that rain on everyone’s parade on the weekends and don’t do squat on the weekdays…now, you’re a team, a band.”
He waves his right arm, palm open, at the campus stretching out before them. Raybaybay continues, “You have 76 minutes. On one of these rooftops is a Rolling Rock.” Even though the security staff knew this was coming, they cannot help emitting a collective gasp, followed by anxious chatter, scared sobs, consoling hugs, and resolutely punching their fists into their palms.
Raybaybay’s face is stoic. He waits for them to quiet down, before adding in a soft voice,
“And yes, the Rolling Rock is open.”
The team immediately explodes into action, which consists of sprint to the roof’s edges and then slowly, with much effort, climbing down the house. They split up into three groups, one for north, east and south campus. Silently, they scale dorm buildings and crawl along loggias to find the open canister.
After an hour, they find it on the Cowles 2nd loggia, where some innocent first years had been smoking weed out of a Magic Flight Launch Box vape. Their bodies are disposed of in the cleaning supplies closet. After finishing the beer, the team leader whips an intricate gadget out of their multi-million dollar, high tech Batman belts, and uses it to log onto their Facebook group-chat. They summon only other team leaders to the JCC rooftop, where Raybaybay is waiting, a new pair of black shades on, suit unruffled.
In a deep voice, he says, “Good work team. I love my ray bans, but you guys, you make me feel secure, powerful…and safe when I go to sleep at night. That’s why you’re my Ray-Band.”