David Young: From Quantico to Niles West

Director of Safety David Young

Director of Safety David Young

By Quinn Gilbert and Sophia Lannoye

When you first think of a former FBI agent, you visualize a brooding person with tinted sunglasses, a suit, and a heavy leather briefcase. The good cop, bad cop trope common in every crime drama presents a false stereotype that Niles West’s Director of Safety, David Young, does not fit into. Contrary to what crime dramas may have led you to expect, Young is a very normal guy. 

He launched his career in law enforcement as a police officer but always knew that he wanted to eventually work for the FBI. He served eight years as a police officer and 22 years as a special agent in the FBI, working on 9/11 and many other high-profile cases.

“I was the Chicago field office’s primary behavioral analysis unit coordinator,” Young said. “3-4 times a week I was working cases with our B.A.U back in Quantico,” Young said, and recalled working on a domestic murder case.

“We helped solve a serial killer case who had 4 victims, we only knew of 3 until we began to interview him,” Young said. 

So why would a hotshot former FBI agent with over 30 years of experience choose to work at Niles West? “I was a student here. I guess I felt a little bit of a sense of loyalty in wanting to give back to my origin,” Young said. 

After Niles West’s interim Director of Security, Philip Brown, left Niles West, a new position was created for Young: Director of Safety. Young explained that the positions are similar, both textually and functionally. The connotations of safety versus security are different, but still “intertwined.”  

“[With] security, you think about a perimeter–make[ing] sure all of our doors are always closed and locked,” Young said. With security, comes safety. “We’re talking about everybody’s safety. You come to the building, your parents know you’re safe here.”

Every parent needs reassurance that their children are safe when attending school. With Young as the new director, one of his main priorities is leading the safety staff.

“[Our staff is] constantly making sure people are in the right place and doing the right things,” Young said. 

Formerly known as security guards, safety guards work directly with Young. Young also communicates with the School Resource Officer.

“I work directly for the director of safety. I think he’s very well educated and trained, I think he’s going to be a benefit for Niles West high school,” security guard Jeffrey Saks said.

“He brings a lot of knowledge to the school and the district. He has a very long and distinguished background in law enforcement. It’s nice to have him to talk to about things,” School Resource Officer Nick Larson said.