At 2 a.m. in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the nightlife scene can turn troublesome. Signal 88 Security Supervisor Keith Kelly is used to the intensity as throngs of bar and dining patrons exit the Flats at East Bank luxury bar and entertainment venues.
On June 18, Keith was in his patrol vehicle observing a group leave the popular social scene along the Cuyahoga River and riverfront boardwalk. Two women got into a physical altercation in the exterior roundabout where all individuals exit the area. Keith prepared to intervene, but let the significant others de-escalate the fight and subsequently both parties left.
Keith kept an eye on the remaining people leaving the residential and entertainment complex. A few moments later, a car pulled up. From the passenger’s side, a shot from a semi-automatic handgun whizzed into the crowd.
“I immediately called 911 and told them, “Hey, we’ve got a shot fired over here.” I didn’t even know if was anybodyhit,” Keith explains. “Then I rolled right over there and made sure my dash cam was on. When I realized there was a victim shot in the arm, I took over with first aid until paramedics showed up.”
Holding pressure on the man’s wound to stop the bleeding, Keith also gathered details from bystanders about the shooting and the vehicle that sped away. After talking with the Cleveland police who arrived on scene, Keith went inside the apartment complex to check on his dedicated officer inside the building.
How do Signal 88 officers prepare for potential altercations and deadly assaults like this one?
“You stay mentally prepared and on your toes at all times. I preach to my officers all the time that they need to be mentally here and aware of what’s going on to ultimately be safe,” Keith says. “You also need to be physically present and aware of what’s going on around you.”
That ever-aware preparation and mindset has significantly helped turned around the Signal 88 growth in the Cleveland market. With 10 years of security experience before joining Signal 88 in October 2020, Keith was quickly promoted to a supervisor within four months.
“Keith is definitely one of the best officers that we’ve been able to employ with this franchise since it started in 2014. He took over the Cleveland market area and just in that little time with us, we’ve seen growth in that market. Well over 300% since three years ago. Keith is one of the key contributors to that,” explains Noah Capozzi, Senior Operations Manager for Signal 88 of Northeast Ohio and metro Detroit, Cincinnati and Columbus.
“Keith ensures clients and employees are doing well and takes care of the sites on a nightly basis, running patrols and doing officer checks and site visits. He follows post orders, which is a key factor in keeping these clients. And Keith mentors his officers and trains them ensuring they are doing everything correctly.”
The roughly 20 officers that Keith supervises are like a family to him and he sensed the positive welcoming work culture from day one.
“For real, I do love this job. With the crew that we have, everybody is kind and caring. We’re a family-type environment,” Keith shares. “I know some of these guys and gals go through their own personal issues. If I can help them in any way, shape or form, I absolutely will. I know they would do the same for me. We all have each other’s backs and I’m appreciative of that.”
Building trust among his crew and increasing their competency are just two reasons why Keith receives high praises from Signal 88 leadership and his officers.
“Keith is always on time. He never misses a shift. He connects well with each officer individually, not just as a team. He dives down into knowing them personally and making sure that they’re taken care of and everything’s going well in their personal life. This helps them excel and take care of work when they get there,” Noah says. “When someone has an issue, no one hesitates to call Keith. He’s able to talk them through things and just make sure everything's okay.”
If altercations get out of hand on Keith’s shift as they did on June 18, he is fully prepared to step in and protect people and property at the Flats at East Bank or anywhere he is assigned.
“The city of Cleveland can be rough at times. But having Keith go to that dedicated site and follow our protocols and policies takes care of the community and gives them the peace of mind that they need,” Noah explains. “When there are situations like this one where Keith called in medical and police and really took care of the situation, it’s great to know nobody else had to worry about what was going on.”
Thank you, Supervisor Keith Kelly, for all you do for the city of Cleveland and your Signal 88 team. We are proud to honor you with the July Hero of the Month.