Originally created 02/29/04

Guards protect campus leaders



ATHENS, Ga. - Cost of guarding the University of Georgia president's house on Prince Avenue: $60,000.

Cost of guarding President Michael Adams and the university's other top dogs in UGA's administration building: $24,000.

The security benefit, according to UGA law enforcement officials: invaluable.

"When you look at what our administrators are dealing with each and every day, I would not be doing my job properly if I didn't look at the aspect that someone might not be happy with them," said Maj. Jimmy Williamson, UGA's assistant police chief.

That's why a security presence was added to the North Campus Administration Building in July. Floyd Downer, a former lieutenant on UGA's police force, now spends his days as an unarmed watchdog - a deterrent, Maj. Williamson said.

Talks of adding security to the administration building were in the works months before Mr. Downer assumed the full-time job, Maj. Williamson said. His presence has nothing to do with a controversy that began in June when Dr. Adams didn't renew longtime Athletic Director Vince Dooley's contract, which sparked a campaign for Dr. Adams' ouster.

And while Mr. Downer has yet to deal with an incident there, Maj. Williamson said, he has other duties, including serving as a liaison between administrators and the police department and directing visitors in the two-floor, 21,000-square-foot building.

UGA Provost Arnett Mace, whose office is in the administration building, said Mr. Downer not only protects administrators but also deters criminal activity.

"There is a significant amount of artwork in here, portraits of university presidents," Mr. Mace said. "If someone starts walking out with files they shouldn't have or one of the portraits, then that person's going to be detained."