By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor
Court Officer Mark Campbell was named Employee of the Year by the Kings County Supreme Court during a special ceremony in the lobby of the courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon.
“Everyone knows Mark,” said Hon. Lawrence Knipel, administrative judge of the Supreme Court, civil term. “As the person who controls the parking lot, I sometimes think that he is the most popular person in the building. Today we recognize Campbell for his dedication, professionalism and ever-present courtesy. We salute you. Thank you for all these many years.”
Campbell began working in the court system in 1992 at the Brooklyn Family Court. In April 1999, he was promoted to senior court officer and assigned to the Supreme Court, Criminal Term. In 2003, Campbell was assigned to the judges parking lot, which is where he has worked in the rain, snow and the sun ever since.
“It really is a very positive experience giving an award like this to an officer, especially one who guards the entrance to our building with a good attitude and never a frown on his face,” said Justice Bernard Graham. “This is our way — the judges and the administrative staff — to recognize not only Mark, but all the officers who make us safe in the building. We don't always get to acknowledge that, but this is our small way of saying thank you for all that you do.”
Campbell, who was presented with a plaque by Major Luz Bryan, of security operations, and a portrait by Graham, was clearly overwhelmed by the entire experience.
“I want to thank my friends for coming — and for behaving,” Campbell joked. “I want to thank my old partner Jimmy for being on time, which he never was when he worked with me. I should have been employee of the decade. I love you, Jimmy and I love you more that you're retired.”
After working for 15 years guarding the judge’s parking lot, located between the courthouse and the Brooklyn Municipal Building on Joralemon Street, Campbell has become a member of the legal community as well as a community at large. One of the many people in attendance during the ceremony was Teddy Fishman, a local kid who passes Campbell sees each day on his trip to school.
“I've gotten to know him and his brother just from saying hello to them every day," Campbell said. "Over the years, I've gone to a couple of birthday parties for him. He and his family are great people. You get to know people when you're working outside. I've been there for so long, 15 years, there are kids who I met when they're young, but now they're in high school and they still stop by to say hello.”
As Charles Small said during the ceremony, being the parking lot attendant doesn’t always mean that a guard will be popular because, after all, they often have to tell people they’re not allowed to park there.
“The parking lot is no easy assignment,” said Small, chief clerk of the Civil Term. “It takes a special ability to tell your friends, your co-workers and even the judges’ families that they don't have permission to park there. The fact that so many of you have taken the time out to show appreciation speaks to the volume of what type of officer and person Officer Campbell is.”