It’s 3p.m. and the ‘changing of the guard’ in the Mystic Seaport Security office. The first shift that began at 7a.m. is ending as Lieutenant Alex Brast walks in. The outgoing security officer recites a litany of what needs doing or needs attention during Alex’s 2nd shift hours of 3 – 11 p.m. This is a quieter time of year for the Security department; the list is relatively small compared to the busier high-tourist season. However, Alex and his co-workers maintain a year-round, round-the-clock vigilance that ensures the safety of visitors and the Museum in general.
1. How long have you been employed at Mystic Seaport?
AB: I’ve been here two years, and at 21 years of age I’m the youngest shift leader in the department. I majored in Criminal Justice at Three Rivers Community College, but I initially got hooked on this field when I was a student at Stonington High School. I chose the career of criminal justice for my senior project, which got me involved with the Stonington Police Department. I continued working with them as a Community Service Officer for two summers after graduation. As C.S.O. I did plenty of foot patrols in towns within our jurisdiction, so the two-hour plus patrols I do during my shift here are nothing new. What’s different is that I no longer have to write parking tickets or chalk tires in timed parking areas.
2. What’s the best part of your job?
AB: I like the fact that I get to work outside and that no area of the Museum is off-limits to me. The Museum surprises me some days. You never know what you might see or find or who you might meet. It’s especially interesting to talk with foreign visitors. I remember an incident involving a French visitor’s child who severely cut his finger. It was difficult to communicate with the family and we had to round up an interpreter to translate for us.
3. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
AB: I just talked about the challenges in communicating with non-English speaking visitors, but communications between our Security department and other Museum departments are important, too. Accurate and up-to-date information is necessary for us to do our job well.
4. What’s the funniest or most notable on-the-job experience you’ve had?
AB: We apprehended a kid this past summer who had scaled the shipyard gate. He claimed he was looking for a bathroom. We released him without incident. Not so funny was the cardiac arrest of a Lantern Light Tours patron last year. Those kind of emergencies don’t happen often, but we’re prepared to deal with them.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
AB: I work out regularly so I’m fit for the physical demands of my job and read books, usually of a political nature. I also enjoy a good music concert here and there.
Alex was interviewed by Volunteer Trudi Busey and photographed by Andy Price.