Jump to content


Photo

Welcome Past & Present Security Team Members!


  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#21 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 14 October 2014 - 07:10 PM

I was thinking about starting a new thread for the first five seasons, to make room for what I hope will be chapters on the adventures of the folks in Security who labored thru the 80's, 90'a and 00's (what the hell do we call that decade anyway)  But then I figured anyone else who comes on board can start their own, and I hope they will.

 

Now, I have put in a couple of "serious" reports, dealing with serious accidents and injuries on the threads in RIDE OPS under the CABLE CARS and the RUNAWAY TRAIN. I won't duplicate those stories here, but urge my companions to locate and review my version of those incidents and add or repair any corrections needed..

 

   I have noted the comments elsewhere about the use of metal detectors and increase security in the Main Gate area as the 80's came along. We saw that in our visits to 6Flags Magic.Mtn also. Thats pretty much what made us quit going to the 6F park in L A.

 

In the earlier years we relied on the word of mouth from employees regarding armed guests. Often rest room attendants, tram crews,  and park workers all over the place "Just happened to see" an exposed weapon...and called it in or mentioned it to a security officer. One of the Plainclothes officers from the shoplifter crew would be  sent out to locate the target individual and follow them until they were in a quieter  area where a uniformed officer would assist the first officer in asking the individual about his I D and if a cop his dept badge.  I only was involved with this activity one time.. A tram driver reported a man with an ankle holstered revolver has entered the Park.with his family. One of the Internal Security guys was asked to go out to bring the guest back into the office, informally to meet with the Director.. Our guy was dressed very nicely that nite in what could be considered a "MIAMI VICE" outfit. Dark Suit and white tie, I was to follow in uniform as his back-up. After 12 hours on the clock, I was NOT neat, so I put on my winter jacket to cover my wrinkled uniform and tagged along (a cool fall evening.. We entered the Park just ast the guest entered the Men's rest room by the old main entrance and the tents. I went in, followed by our Don Johnson look alike. As the guest finished and was washing his hand Jim asked him politely, " Sir, Are you carrying a firearm in the Park tonight?" the guy looked at Jim, then over his shoulder at the Gorilla in the Security coat he saw directly behind him and slowly raised both hands and said very clearly.." I am a Jersey City Police Officer, I am required to carry a weapon when I am off duty, I have a snub 38 in my ankle holster" Do you want me to remove that weapon at this time." To which Jim said, "That won't be necessary if you will show me your I D and then accompany us to the Security office, my Boss would like to meet you."

 

and off we went... The cop was impressed with the lengths we went to provide a safe environment for his family, and was very suprised to learn that we were NOT armed.

 

 Little did he know that the favorite command yelled by  Patrolling officers charged with catching the fence-jumpers at night was--" STOP, OR I'LL CALL FOR ASSISTANCE !"  and if the Officer was outnumbered as they usually were you might hear  "I STOP, OR I''LL shit !!

 

So much for armed intervention.


Edited by mayor al, 14 October 2014 - 11:27 PM.


#22 29yrswithaGApass

29yrswithaGApass

    Historian

  • Director
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,496 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sayreville, NJ

Posted 14 October 2014 - 11:48 PM

Feel free to start new topic threads for the early years!

 

Was there ever any talk of the Security crew being armed when the park first opened?  After all, firearms were allowed in the Safari trucks back then.



#23 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 15 October 2014 - 09:11 AM

As part of the training programs that Management asked for during each off season, was a basic firearms safety and orientation course that included 8 hours of range time at the Jackson PD firing range. In reality, the range activity only happened once. We did include Firearms orientation and handling as part of the annual winter training sessions, but without live firing. That was designed more to make officers aware of the dangers presented by armed guests, 

This was in exchange for the use of the Park for a Police "SWAT" Training exercise on a winter weekend- speciffically a simulated hostage situation at an unknown (until the police arrived on the scene) location within the park.  We used the Western Cable station and the other tower in the Fort as the bad-guy base, and Security people dressed the part of the bad-guys and victim hostages..

 About twenty Ocean County Cops rolled in that Saturday morning responding to the call from the park (simulated) of a serious situation. It took several hours with no fatalities to end the problem then about 2 hours of debriefing and discussion using the Security/First Aid bldg for a classroom to resolve access and communications issues.  All went well for that session

 

The fireams Range training was narrowed to the Manager, and four selected lead officers. I was included only because I was already a certified firearms instructor and was on a first name basis with the Jackson Training  Officer. We did our range time. The plan for training the rest of the department was denied at Upper Park leadership levels for reasons that varied from budget limits-to fear of flying bullets-to personal feelings about armed officers period.---all depending on who was giving the reasons and under what circumstances.  The results were the same... other than the first brief orientation session, no attempt was made in the first five seasons to arm any of the regular Security Officers or Management personnel.


Edited by mayor al, 15 October 2014 - 09:18 AM.


#24 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 15 October 2014 - 10:55 AM

OK here's a photo that most folks would not add to a collection.. but needs to be a part of the overall employee relations scheme. Punching out early, even if your relief had come in and you were "done" was a "non-no". I got caught at it this time and here is the results. Don was a Shift Supervisor at the time, one of the original first season opening day officers.

 

  .13583.jpg


Edited by mayor al, 15 October 2014 - 10:58 AM.


#25 Daved Thomson

Daved Thomson

    Log Flume

  • Black Tag
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests:Great Adventure AND Six Flags Great Adventure

Posted 15 October 2014 - 04:54 PM

Yes, that was considered a very big No No... Unless, of course, THEY were looking to cut labor and improve per caps and then they couldn't have you out of there fast enough! Hopefully, though, you didn't sweat it too much.
Daved Thomson
Come Together!

#26 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 16 October 2014 - 07:56 AM

Maybe some of you other old timers can clear up this "payroll issue" for me. I seem to recall that in the first season (or two?) the Park offered a reward (or bonus) of a small amount of cash (,15 cents  per hour worked over the summer) to seasonal workers who stayed "on the payroll"  through the September Labor Day Holiday weekend. If you terminated prior to the Holiday you weren't eligible...and permanent workers didn't get it either? I do remember a drastic change in the workforce from young workers to adults during that Labor Day Weekend and immediately after, in the stores, food stands and Ride Opns.

 

Is my memory fogged on this, or was is a reality?



#27 Daved Thomson

Daved Thomson

    Log Flume

  • Black Tag
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests:Great Adventure AND Six Flags Great Adventure

Posted 16 October 2014 - 12:47 PM

Maybe some of you other old timers can clear up this "payroll issue" for me. I seem to recall that in the first season (or two?) the Park offered a reward (or bonus) of a small amount of cash (,15 cents  per hour worked over the summer) to seasonal workers who stayed "on the payroll"  through the September Labor Day Holiday weekend. If you terminated prior to the Holiday you weren't eligible...and permanent workers didn't get it either? I do remember a drastic change in the workforce from young workers to adults during that Labor Day Weekend and immediately after, in the stores, food stands and Ride Opns.
 
Is my memory fogged on this, or was is a reality?


I can't confirm that this was the case prior to Six Flags, but I know they did offer additional incentives to remain employed past Labor Day at least some of the seasons that I was there from 1981-1985.
Daved Thomson
Come Together!

#28 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 16 October 2014 - 01:57 PM

Right, Daved, and it wasn't a 'raise'. They went back and tallied the total hour you had worked during the Summer monthes, then issued a bonus uncentive of either a dime or .15 for each hour worked if you stayed on thru Labor Day.

 Of Course a large number of student-workers could not do that, and to leave before September to return to school. Bad for them and really hard on the workforce that remained and had to be shifted around to cover vacancies everywhere.

I recall having a lot of overtime opportunities during those times of year, even though Security was less affected by the loss of younger workers.



#29 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 01 November 2014 - 07:40 PM

 One of the related sub-sections of the Security and Safety Department that is seldom heard from until something bad happens is the First Aid Service. It has been called the First Responders, or the EMS, or the EMTs, depending on who is doing the talking, but in the early days of G A it was the First Aid Service and it occupied part of the building where Security was located near the Games area,

The Department had an M D on call, and an RN on-site with two or three EMT's doing the legwork of treating the routine cases that most People (guests or staff) presented in the Park. They used electric powered 'golf-carts' inside the park to respond to calls requiring the transporting of a person back to First Aid,   There were two ambulances ,  one of which would be ready for service 24/7/365 to transport to Freehold Hospital or some other facility .Security would provide the driver for the ambulance should it be required for a Hospital run.

  The majority of the reported cases for treatment on a typical Summer day were heat related. Second would be the result of illness brought with the guest to the Park and magnified thru extensive stress. Third, and the most serious would be the result of accident, whether in the Park, on a Ride, or elsewhere on the Property. The EMT's were usually quite busy on the hot humid weekend days with the more routine issues... but the late night Concert Nights always seemed to triggered accidents in the Parking lot or on the exit road as guest tried to hurry and beat the other guests out of the Park.

  I don't know about the staffing of the department today... but in those days, the First Aid  Folks were busy throughout their work day.


Edited by mayor al, 01 November 2014 - 07:44 PM.


#30 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 02 November 2014 - 02:58 PM

First Aid- Continued-

 

  One of the more suprising , or rather least expected incidents that began to happen on an ever-increasing basis was the number of yellow-jacket Bee Stings received by employees (and guests also), but mainly by the Italian Ice Cart Operators who scooped cups of the Ice for guests at certain locations inside the Park.  At times the Bee's seemed to overpower the kids and force the carts to shut down and move to avoid serious injury to the people in the area. First Aid and Food Service both issued MSG packs to those employees to apply immediately to a Bee sting for relief--it worked-- but multiple stings could be serious and some folks had strong reactions to the the Bee Stings. We made several ambulance runs during the Summer for Bee Sting reactions...usually for a guest, but sometimes it was for an employee.

  The Carts would be pressure washed over night to help get rid of the ice-residue, but by noon, the Bee's would be back, at the Gingerbread end of the Park and spreading East as the day wore on.



#31 29yrswithaGApass

29yrswithaGApass

    Historian

  • Director
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,496 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sayreville, NJ

Posted 03 November 2014 - 12:47 AM

You have some great stories Al!  These are things you can only hear about from people who experienced them firsthand.  Thanks!



#32 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 03 November 2014 - 09:24 AM

I wish we could get some feedback from some Food service cart people. I think--THINK-- I saw more of them in First Aid than any other job-title that I recall, due to two types of injuries. The Bee Stings were One, and the first I had every heard of "Corpal Tunnel Syndrome" was the second. The Italian Ice was much denser and harder to scoop than typical Ice Cream, and the typical cart person was a smaller than normal youngster who's wrist muscles weren't fully deveoped. Some of those kids really suffered with Popeye-like bulging wrists from scooping that Ice for hours at their carts. I wouldn't be at all suprised if they had permanent physical issues 40 years later based on the damage done back in those first seasons. 


Edited by mayor al, 03 November 2014 - 09:49 AM.


#33 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 03 November 2014 - 07:50 PM

Harry,  

Can you find someone in Food Service who can give us a timeline (History) for when the Commisary was taken off-line, and how they distributed food from the warehouse(s) to the foodstands after it closed---until the whole major food operation shut down and the Park converted to a contracted food vendor service. I am assuming that's what is happening today from the way the foodstands are identified.. some are run by the vendor and some by independent franchisers, including 6 Flags.  I have not been there to take inventory, but I would bet that the daily count of "Sysco" System Delivery Trucks to the warehouse on typical operating days would be in the double-digit figures.



#34 mayor al

mayor al

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 88 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern Indiana- Near Louisville
  • Interests:Tracker of Good BBQ and Southern Roadfood- Hunting as a Food Source- Firearms User & Collector- Railfan (Western USA Rails)

Posted 14 November 2014 - 09:21 PM

 A typical Midnight Shift Security activity log In MidWinter during the first few seasons... I'll "time" it for after we moved into the Modular Office building that we shared with First Aid, behind the Games area (1976 or later)

 

Shift worked 1100 PM - 7:30AM (included a 30 break) A typical shift would be staffed by-

3 Office Staff-

     LT

     SGT

     Radio Operator

  Gate 1

  Gate 2

  Strawberry

  Western

  Motor

  Relief-Breakman

 

At various locations around the park and on certain buildings Detex Keys were permanently attached to facilities or structures. The walking Park "Watchmen" and the Motor Officer carried a Detex Clock unit with them and had a fixed schedule of when they were to make their rounds of "their area" using the keys to punch the clocks to show they had checked that building or area at the assigned time. It took about an hour and a half or so for each of the inside the Park guys to walk 'their beat' and get the clocks punched early in the shift, and again before the end of their tour. Those key punches were recorded on a tape contained inside the clock unit.

 

 The Motor Officer had to cover a lot more area as the Keys were located all over the place... Personnel (out on 537 past Gate 1)   Then At the Entrance Gates (both sides) and Exit Gates, Safari Toll Booths, Hospitality Kennels (remember them??).  Maint. Bldg. by the Great Arena,   Then out to the Warehouse and Water Treatment and the Commissary. During the Hunting season either the LT or the SGT would do a ride around the outside Perimeter in a very beat-up Chevy Blazer leftover from the first season vehicles, but it had 4x4. Nothing ever came of the Perimeter Patrol that I heard of, but it provided "something different" to do on long winter nights.

  Walking the Park on a winter night is an interesting experience. If the weather holds fair, it is really beautiful..If it is stormy there are plenty of places to seek shelter, Although the few times we got "real Snow" Huffing thru it from Security up to Gate 2 then to our cars at 7:30am when the Plowboys were just getting going made going home a very slow process.

  We learned how to hang an 5' plow blade on the Blazer and keep it by the Ambulance behind Security. The few times we needed it our building was totally clear while Exec Row ouside of Gate 2 ( the old tram-run) had 18" of hard crusted snow in it.

  The Motor Officer also had to haul the Relief guy around to the various posts to give the guys their breaks, so he stayed pretty busy all night. One or the other of the Shift Leaders would ride with him at times to oversee the guys, but one supervisor and the radio Op had to be in the office at all times.

  Overnight Security handled Emergency calls for the Executives, logging some on message forms, and forwarding some depending on the instructions give by the Directors (or Higher).

The Gate Guards had to log in all non-scheduled employees, and all other traffic entering the Gates. Lots of overnight truck deliveries to the warehouse, and early morning to games and maint.and Food Service.

Add to that servicing the four cars, two 4x4s and the ambulance (gas and oil) and a quick spray wash a couple of times a week if the weather was right, and you have an idea of a typical Midnight Security Shift in the DOLDRUMS OF MID-WINTER

 

One more related item, Those first few years, the department was majority-not totally- male officer, especially on the Mid-shift, Thus my use of male adjectives and descriptors.  Betsey Breeze broke the gender-barrier on the Mid-shift, I believe, then the numbered tended to grow more even. I don't think there was any reason for this bias other than a lack of desire on the part of the females at that time to want to work those hours.

 

Any Questions?


Edited by mayor al, 16 November 2014 - 10:48 AM.


#35 29yrswithaGApass

29yrswithaGApass

    Historian

  • Director
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,496 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sayreville, NJ

Posted 02 June 2016 - 09:03 PM

I recently learned that Al Bowen, known on GAH's Forums as "mayor al" has passed away.  Al's days at G.A. went back to the early years when he joined the park's security team.  Al will be missed for his funny stories about the park and his generosity in donations he made to GreatAdventureHistory's memorabilia collection.  We are proud to have several of his name tags as well as one of his vintage security uniform shirts (the brown version when the guards look liked National Park wardens).  We will miss you Al!



#36 jdc12192

jdc12192

    Sky Ride

  • Red Tag (Moderator)
  • 2,441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NJ

Posted 02 June 2016 - 09:51 PM

Aw thats sad to hear :(



#37 Daved Thomson

Daved Thomson

    Log Flume

  • Black Tag
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests:Great Adventure AND Six Flags Great Adventure

Posted 08 June 2016 - 01:12 PM

I recently learned that Al Bowen, known on GAH's Forums as "mayor al" has passed away.  Al's days at G.A. went back to the early years when he joined the park's security team.  Al will be missed for his funny stories about the park and his generosity in donations he made to GreatAdventureHistory's memorabilia collection.  We are proud to have several of his name tags as well as one of his vintage security uniform shirts (the brown version when the guards look liked National Park wardens).  We will miss you Al!


Very sorry to have learned of Al's passing. I contacted him directly after reading some of his stories from the park's earliest years and really enjoyed learning what things were like back then. He had mentioned he had some medical issues, but really went out of his way to minimize what those I issues might be. Definitely realized that something happened after he suddenly stopped posting on GAH. My sincerest sympathies to his family.
Daved Thomson
Come Together!

#38 scott

scott

    Runaway Mine Train

  • Black Tag
  • 525 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Manahawkin NJ

Posted 10 June 2016 - 09:00 AM

Rest now Al, We enjoyed your company while we had it. Our prayers and our thoughts are with your family.



#39 GASM

GASM

    Super Roundup

  • Black Tag
  • 31 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NJ

Posted 16 June 2016 - 07:38 PM

Very sad, he knew about events that some of us would never even imagine went on at GA. I'm glad he took the time to share some of his stories; the one about Charlie is unforgettable. Rest in peace, Al.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users