When it comes to protection, Henrico County native and retired police officer James Bandy is a consummate professional. After a 22-year law enforcement career that took him to the rank of captain, Mr. Bandy, a University of Richmond alum, joined the Collegiate School staff as Director of Campus Safety and Security in August 2018. Married to his wife, Courtney, for 10 years and the father of two daughters, he understands the importance of proper security measures, both professionally and personally. Meet the man responsible for securing our grounds and keeping us safe, and learn from him in his own words what it means to him to be a new Collegiate
What's a favorite Collegiate experience (so far) that you are sure will become a treasured memory?
Two things come to mind:
1) I was asked to be (a Lower School) guest speaker, and I talked about community service and campus safety. I said to the kids, when they see me in the hallways, they can put a face to the name - "Mr. Bandy" - and that I like high fives. Now, there's not a day that goes by that I don't get a high five, so they were listening!
2) Two weeks into my employment, we had several tornadoes come through Richmond. A tornado touched down less than half a mile from campus, and that thrust me right back into the emergency management part of my police work. Managing that (event) helped establish a lot of rapport within our team…. I received a lot of remarks from faculty and parents that they were glad I was here to manage that incident, because it gave them an instant sense of assurance. That felt great to hear.What are you most excited about accomplishing at Collegiate?
I didn't expect it would be as busy as it is here, but Collegiate has something going on almost every single day that requires some sort of security or safety measure which keeps me busy, which I enjoy… Not that there are a plethora of challenges here, but if there are problems, I can solve [them] because of my training.Are there any Collegiate traditions that confuse/amuse/excite you?
There is a deep culture of legacy here, which I appreciate; and therefore, when people refer to a certain boardroom or court or garden or building by name, I might not understand what they're saying, because everything is named a certain way. So that’s a bit confusing and a little amusing, although I appreciate the sense of legacy. What advice from a childhood mentor can you share that still impacts the choices you make today?
I made a mistake in middle school, back when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. I decided to skip class, because there was a test and I wasn't prepared for it. So I skipped a class and hid out. They called my mother to find out where I was. At the time, I didn't realize the severity of [teachers and administrators realizing] "We have a student missing." Afterwards, I was sent to the principal's office. Dr. Lawson, my principal, taught me about decision-making, and the impact that my good or bad decision have on others. I remember him saying, ‘A decision is a decision; whether right or wrong, you still made a decision.' And, 'It's okay to make mistakes, as long as you try to do better. Mistakes make you a better thinker.'What else would you like to share about your Collegiate experience (so far)?
It's been really fun getting to meet the students and the parents, and the faculty (and staff). Everybody here has been very welcoming. Their appreciation level for security on a school campus really validates the reason I'm here, and it gives me assurance to know that I made the right choice in leaving one career and starting a new one. There's always anxiety when you change careers, but because of the way I've been accepted here, I know that I made the right choice. It's also reassuring to see how well the teachers and the students know one another; that's encouraging for our future. I do hope that one day, I will have that relationship with the faculty and students here.
– By Samantha Willis