JU's Campus Security Assured Through Father-Son Legacy

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To read a story of high passion and commensurate achievement, step into the office of Jacksonville University’s Director of Campus Security.

A themed coffee mug collection, awards for service and framed photographs with former U.S. presidents are among the artifacts of Gordon Bass’s distinguished career. As it turns out, his family tree is firmly rooted in the spirit of public service.

“My father was Gordon A. Bass, Sr. He was at JSO [the Jacksonville’s Sherriff Office] for 34 years,” Bass said. “I’m Gordon A. Bass, Jr. I was at JSO for 34 years. My son is Gordon A. Bass III and he’s with JSO. It’s been a legacy started by my dad.”

While Bass does not have other siblings involved with the JSO, he notes that his brother also chose to pursue public service through the fire department.

Bass’s son is now in his seventh year with the JSO, and can sometimes — though rarely — be seen on JU’s campus. The university can hire off-duty officers to provide security, particularly during weeknights.

“Even though we hire them off-duty, they are still law enforcement and can enforce the laws of Duval County,” Bass said. “They have full arrest powers. They’re allowed to utilize their patrol car and equipment. The only difference is that they’re not being paid by the county, but by JU.”

According to Bass, it is a challenge to attract officers to work at night when their regular work schedules conflict or when they find venues that offer more pay than JU does.

A JU student is very unlikely to spot father and son together on campus due to their different schedules.

“We’re never here at the same time because off-duty officers work nights,” said Bass. “Unless there’s an emergency, I’m not here.”

Bass said there can also be no charge of nepotism because his son does not report directly to him. Gordon Bass III declined to be interviewed for this story.

“I’ve been blessed in my career,” Bass said as he departed for a work assignment. “I’ve had my picture taken with two U.S. presidents, spent time in the FBI Academy and retired as a director. I’ve been blessed, and I hope my son goes in the same direction.”

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