Buies Creek, N.C.-A quiet man, who doesn't like calling attention to himself, Ricky Symmonds, of Erwin, N.C., loves NASCAR and law enforcement, but not necessarily in that order. Symmonds, who retired as Director of Campus Safety for Campbell University in March, leaves a legacy of over 25 years of service.
Arriving on campus in 1977 fresh out of law enforcement training, Symmonds first served as a campus police officer. He was named Director of Campus Safety in April 1989 after returning to the university from a stint as an investigative officer with the Harnett County Sheriff's Department.
Long time assistant and friend Lisa Core said Symmonds will be remembered most for the way in which he treated people.
"He is a very caring person in all situations, whether it was with someone being charged or someone who had just locked the keys in their car. He had genuine compassion for people," said Core, who is assistant director of Campus Safety. "He is also someone who was always known for enforcing the law."
Perhaps the most difficult challenge Symmonds faced during his long career at Campbell was the death of freshman wrestler Billy Saylor in 1997. Saylor died of a heart attack after preparing for a college wrestling match and the incident became a national news item.
"Ricky handled the situation with a lot of tact and concern," Core said. "It was a tough time for him and he took the death pretty hard."
In 1989, prior to leaving the Criminal Division of the Harnett County Sheriff's Department to return to Campbell as director, Symmonds received a commendation from Captain William A. Strickland for his outstanding performance.
"Your ability to cope with the everyday problems of crime investigation, your efficiency, tact, the alertness you display, unwavering loyalty and enthusiasm for your job is a source of pride and an example to everyone who works in the division," Strickland said.
The Campbell University Campus Safety Department is made up of 30 law enforcement personnel including security officers, sheriff's deputies and tele-communicators. The department provides security on campus 24 hours a day, five days a week.
Photo Copy: Ricky Symmonds, director of Campus Security for Campbell University, retired in March.