Greenhill Security Welcomes Two New Members

Josie Arbuckle

Greenhill’s security team just added two new members for the 2022-2023 school year: Santiago Marcus and Gerard Abbene.

Both New York natives, Marcus and Abbene, each have a history in law enforcement.

“Originally, I started out as an EMT on the US Coast Guard until I got to see the police department and how they work,” Marcus said. “It got me excited.”

The two were both officers in the New York Police Department (NYPD), Marcus eventually being promoted to detective. Abbene worked at the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn, an extremely busy and notorious location in New York.

“In my last 18 years in the department, I was with the ESU [Emergency Service Unit], which deals with anything and everything SWAT [Special Weapons and Tactics] rescue,” Abbene said.

Marcus said the highlight of his career was the fulfillment he experienced from being promoted from officer to detective, then to another higher level of detective.

“As you get promoted, it’s an excitement…. it’s an accomplishment,” Marcus said.

After his retirement from the NYPD, Marcus and his family searched for a location that would allow them to fully utilize his pension and provide an excellent education for his son.

“We were looking for a place where the pension goes a bit longer, and my wife looked into Allen High,” Marcus said.

Abbene started his career at the NYPD at age 22 in transit, riding trains at night and making sure the subways in New York were safe.

His move to Dallas was primarily family-centered: his parents and brothers has also moved to Dallas 15 years prior.

“When I retired three years ago, I missed my family,” he said. “I wanted to spend more time with my parents as they are getting older, so I picked up and moved to McKinney, Texas.”

Marcus and Abbene met and befriended each other through their mutual affiliation to the NYPD, so when Marcus decided to work security at Greenhill, he referred Abbene to the job because he saw many of Greenhill’s qualities reflected in Abenne.

“He [Marcus] told me that it’s [Greenhill] a family-oriented, private, and close-knit school,” Abbene said. “I was retired, looking for something to do, and it was a great fit.”

So far, Marcus’ and Abbene’s Greenhill experience has been positive.

“Everybody is very cordial and happy to be on the campus…. very polite,” Abbene said. “Coming from New York, it’s a little different. I was shocked at the amount of mannerisms instilled in the kids from a young age.”

Security starts off their day with a perimeter, making sure the gates are shut, and all is well on campus. Next, they will focus on regulating morning carpool.

To cap off their day, the guards run the afternoon carpool at 2:30 pm and ensure Lower and Middle Schoolers stay safe and get in the correct cars.

“We make sure there is no suspicious activity and that everyone is safe,” Abbene said. “One of the biggest things we do is escort the tractor trailers in and out.”

In Marcus’ experience, almost everyone checks in and says hello when they encounter the guards.

“If we do see someone that doesn’t fit in or doesn’t say hi, they might be a person of interest to us,” Abbene said.