Chicago aldermen want to deploy private security to reduce crime

“After a spike in crime, two Chicago aldermen want to bring private security services to the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods to supplement what police are already doing.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) proposed a plan to use the taxpayer surplus Special Service Area, or SSA, funds for guards to help Chicago police patrol the Northwest Side communities. On Friday, the aldermen and 14th District Police Commander Fabian Saldana brought together dozens of residents to discuss the proposal.
“It’s no different than snow removal, beautification or the other things that SSA does. I believe security is important, and it’s important to augment it, not replace it,” Moreno said.
Since May, 1700 crimes from battery to arson were reported in the area, but only 200 arrests have been made, according to the aldermen.
“We’re trying to get a handle on that with this proposal,” Hopkins said.
The proposed budget amendment would use $100,000 of the $1.2 million SSA budget, allowing for the hiring of off-duty and retired police officers for late-night patrols.
Some residents expressed support, saying it would be “egregious” to not do anything about the crime.
“It’s a really good idea, but we need to think about standards and oversight,” said community resident Gretchen Vermuelen.
Others were not enthusiastic about the idea.
“Police service is a fundamental service that the city should be providing on its own. We should not be providing that,” said Steven Lipe.
The SSA district overlaps three wards, with two of the three aldermen backing the private security proposal. Ald. Hopkins said the SSA funding will expire if not spent by the end of the year.
“If we’re not able to come to an agreement or some compromise, a willingness to work together, then really the entire $1.2 million is in jeopardy,” said Kimberly Bares of the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.
The aldermen said they hope to work out a solution within the next week.”

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Off-duty security officer springs into action

“An off-duty security officer driving down a road sprang into action after being flagged down by a woman reporting a kidnapping in progress.
After getting off the light rail, the night turned to chaos after she says a man tried to grab her 7-year-old daughter.
Boone and her husband were able to keep the man away from their daughter, but they needed help and that’s when she flagged down a passing security guard.
“A woman who saw my patrol vehicle was jumping up and down and waving at me. I drove up and asked her if she needed help and she said ‘Yes, someone tried to steal my kid,’” said Security officer Casey Smith.
Smith says he was off-duty but that he wanted to help the Boones.
He confronted the man and tried to him down and keep him in the area until police could arrived but things turned violent, and the man tried to fight him. So Smith, who says he weighs at least 300 pounds, got him on the ground and held him until help got there.
“I just rolled the person over and then sat on them. Literally just jumped on his back and sat there holding his hands behind him until the police arrived,” said Smith.
Officers told him the guy may have gotten away if he hadn’t intervened.
“I would want someone to do the same thing for me. This day and age everything is so volatile. People are getting taken from different states and everything else and it’s just really hard not to help people,” said Smith.
The suspect now faces a charge of misdemeanor assault for pushing the husband. But detectives told Boone he’s not facing attempted kidnapping charges because he didn’t touch their daughter.
The man is not in jail. Phoenix police were not able to provide an update on the case Saturday night.

A local Phoenix news station has reported that the man has been arrested 54 times, mostly for public intoxication, drinking in public and assault.”

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Hillcrest to crack down on unruly homeless

SAN DIEGO — Panhandlers have asked for change from diners in restaurants.

A furniture store owner has found homeless people napping in his showroom and sleeping on his doorstep.

Another shop owner has to constantly clean human waste from the alley behind his business.

“I think it would be safe to say that the business community has lost patience,” Hillcrest Business Association Director Ben Nicholls said.

The association has hired a new security firm that will begin cracking down on troublesome homeless people in the neighborhood beginning Monday.

Santee-based security company City Wide Protection Services will provide day and night patrols around Hillcrest, focusing on people who are disruptive or seen sleeping on private property.

Nicholls acknowledges that the stepped-up effort is not an ideal solution because it could pit neighborhood against neighborhood, causing homeless people to move but without creating a long-term solution,

“It’s frustrating, because we are all just pushing the problem out,” he said.

The move comes at a time when some business owners in Hillcrest say they’ve seen a migration of homeless people from downtown following efforts by the city to clean up that area with weekly sweeps of sidewalk encampments.

“The solution for East Village and downtown is, ‘Let’s push them out,’” Nicholls said. “Well, they did, and now the businesses here are saying, ‘Enough.’”

Nicholls said the new security contract is in response to the requests from businesses owners to deal with some homeless people who have become aggressive.

“I have restaurants who literally have to throw people out because there are homeless people panhandling inside,” he said.

Brian Lovering, owner of Adam and Even on University Avenue, said he’s seen Hillcrest change because of homeless people in the past year and a half.

“Lots of vandalism has been happening,” he said. “Lots of small issues that add up.”

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Stun guns allowed at public colleges, universities

ATLANTA —For the first time, students at Georgia’s public colleges and universities will be allowed to legally carry stun guns, starting Friday.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, sponsored the bill and told Channel 2’s Lori Geary this is all about safety.

“During the session, I was getting calls, especially from students at Georgia State, because there were three robberies in the library while we were in session, so there were a lot of students who contacted me to say, ‘Hey can I have one now?’” Brockway said.

Brockway said most campus policies prohibited the electroshock weapons on campus but this state law will trump those policies.

Earlier this year, Gov. Deal vetoed the campus carry bill, which would have allowed licensed gun owners to bring their weapons onto campus, excluding dorms, fraternity and sorority houses and sporting events.

Georgia HB 792 allows anyone 18 years or older or currently enrolled in a Georgia public college to carry a stun gun anywhere on campus.

University System of Georgia spokesman Charlie Sutlive released a statement to Geary, saying “Our … institutions are aware of HB 792 taking effect July 1, and we have been working directly with our campus chiefs of police and safety departments in preparation.”

The system’s chief of police sent out a memo to all campus public safety directors alerting them to the change in the law.

Georgia Gwinnett College student Ashley Flagg told Geary she would not carry a stun gun because she’s afraid it would be used against her.

Flagg, though, also said this was about her rights as a student.

“I think we should have the right to be able to carry it because in some cases people feel like they are threatened on campus,” Flagg said.

Chelsea Jackson, also a student at GGC, said stun guns should not be allowed.

“Just something else to give you an excuse to be violent to somebody because you want to. If someone pushes you in the hallway the wrong way or they step on your toe, if that person is having a bad day, then what?” Jackson said.

Brockway said, “We trust college students to fight wars for us, to drive, to get married, to make all sorts of decisions. I think we can count on them to act wisely and protect themselves.”

The law goes into effect Friday.

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Moonlighting Chicago Police will patrol McCormick Place

Chicago IL June 15 2016 Moonlighting Chicago Police officers dressed in uniform will soon be providing security at conventions and trade shows and patrolling the entire McCormick Place campus, thanks to an agreement advanced Tuesday in in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Orlando, Paris and Brussels.

Since 1996, the city and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority have had an agreement in place that allows a pool of roughly 135 off-duty police officers to patrol Navy Pier. Most of them have been in uniform. Occasionally, they work in civilian clothes.

They are “classified as McPier” employees, but are not authorized to wear their uniforms at McCormick Place.

On Tuesday, the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety signed off on a new and expanded agreement that will lift that restriction and dramatically improve McCormick Place security.

It will create a similar pool of 135 moonlighting officers—maybe more — to patrol the entire McCormick Place campus. That includes the new basketball arena for DePaul University that will double as an “event center” for McCormick Place.

Some of the officers will be paid $30-an-hour to work directly for McCormick Place. Others will be hired for the conventions and trade shows that fill the McCormick Place complex.

Mike Merchant, the former Chicago Housing Authority chief now serving as McPier’s director of intergovernmental affairs, said it’s a direct response to security concerns triggered by the wave of terrorist attacks around the world.

“There has been growing concern with security … given the environment that we live in … in terms of attacks and things that have happened in Brussels or things that have happened in France and, quite frankly, things that have happened in Orlando now,” Merchant said.

“Some of the largest convention shows have raised concerns about having a presence — an armed security force. … They asked us if there was something we could do to engage the Chicago Police Department to be present at some of these shows.

They’re willing to pay these officers for their service. … At our direction, the shows will able to hire them. We’re looking to have multi-layered options for them to have security maybe roaming the floor, maybe canine units. This will offer a host of options.

They will pay us and we will pay the police officers. Given that the campus is expanding, there will be times when we’ll have to hire officers as well.”

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Metal detectors, private security coming to Buffalo City Hall in July

Starting July 5, visitors to Buffalo City Hall can expect to have to go through airport-style metal detectors and X-ray screening devices.

Common Council members Tuesday gave preliminary support to a beefed-up security plan that is expected to be approved next week and then begin operating right after the Independence Day holiday.

Under the plan, all visitors will go through metal detectors, and all bags will go through X-ray screening.

Visitors will not be required to show identification to enter the building, police said.

City Hall employees, on the other hand, will not be required to go through the screening as long as they have their City Hall identification with them.

Also, as part of the beefed-up security, there will be additional security cameras and a private security firm working in City Hall.

The private firm, G4S Security, will replace some, but not all, of the Buffalo police officers currently assigned to City Hall.

Under a $650,000 annual contract the Common Council is expected to approve at its June 7 meeting, security guards will be operating the screening equipment at the front and rear entrances to City Hall.

The screening will look for both guns and explosives, according to Buffalo police.

If an individual has a permit to carry a gun, the weapon will be kept at a security booth and returned when the person leaves City Hall, police said.

The Brown administration has said that City Hall is vulnerable to a breach in security, and most Council members agree.

During a discussion on the G4S contract Tuesday, Buffalo Police Lt. Jeffrey Rinaldo told members of the Council’s Finance Committee that G4S security guards assigned to City Hall will be either current or retired law-enforcement officers or retired military. The G4S guards will carry guns, but they will not have police powers. If an incident occurs in City Hall, the guards would immediately contact Buffalo Police.

Buffalo police officers currently assigned to the Mayor’s Office, the Common Council, the city treasury and Traffic Violations Bureau, as well as a police Internal Affairs substation, will continue working in City Hall, Rinaldo said.

But in a cost-saving move, the security guards will replace other officers who have been assigned to City Hall since the fall, when world events convinced the Brown administration to speed up plans to beef up security in the building.

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Man arrested after trying to steal security K9

A man “dognapped” a private security K-9 during a training session at UNLV early Tuesday, leading university police on a brief pursuit before retrieving the dog and taking the man into custody.

Hank, a 15-month-old German shepherd, was inside a private security patrol car “with the A/C on” when a man walked up to the car, opened the door and “nonchalantly” walked away with the dog in front of the Thomas & Mack Center, security guard James Lassiter said.

The dog was at the arena with a few handlers and four other K-9s who were in their last leg of training for Dignity Health, where Lassiter works, and Silver State K-9, which trains dogs for security and law enforcement.

“Because of his training and the leash that was on him, he’s pretty much learned that if the leash is on, you go with that person,” Lassiter said, adding that the man’s calm demeanor may have convinced the dog he meant well.

Though Hank was sitting in the patrol car by himself, he wasn’t alone. Three other dogs were resting in the air conditioning within separate vans parked next to Hank’s car as the fifth dog finished his session inside.

“There’s not enough room in one van for all of them,” Lassiter said.

As the dogs waited, one security officer watched over the cluster of cars, pacing back in forth in front of them in the roundabout in front of the arena. That’s when the man took Hank.

When that happened, the man watching the dogs called Lassiter and the woman he was working with inside “and said ‘Hey, do you have someone working with you today?’ ”

“And we said, ‘No,’ ” Lassiter said. “And he said, ‘Well, someone’s walking with Hank. Now they’re running.’ ”

Lassiter and his co-worker looked at each other, then bolted outside and down the arena’s front steps.

“Honestly, my heart dropped,” Lassiter said.

The man watching the dogs caught up with the man who took Hank, who let go of the dog before taking off as UNLV police pulled up.

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Port Authority Warns TSA It Will Be Replaced By Private Security Force Over Long Lines At Airports

“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is giving the Transportation Security Administration an ultimatum on dealing with long lines at airports.

CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported the Port Authority is warning the TSA in a letter it will be replaced by a private security force.

“We can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of the TSA passenger services,” the letter reads.

The letter states the long waits at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airports are “prompting angry complaints from passengers, terminal operators, and airlines alike … citing inconvenience, delayed flights and missed flight connections.”

“Passengers have been waiting up to an hour in lines at security checkpoints.

“They’re pretty long,” one traveler said.

Travel expert Peter Trabucco said travelers should not be concerned if airports turn to private security forces.

“Not really, because the processes and the protocols are all set up,” Trabucco said. “They’re going to be doing the same, that’s why the lines are all long because of terrorism.”

Trabucco said the goal of privatization is to cut costs.

“Time would tell if it would work or not. It depends on the company, it depends on how serious they are. Some are good, some are bad,” Trabucco said. “I still feel the TSA itself has a very, very tough job.”

The TSA said it “will directly respond to the Port Authority.”

However, the agency is trying to get more money to hire extra screeners and pushing “pre-check,” a program passengers can sign up for that screens them before they travel.

“I can keep my shoes on. I believe I can keep my computer in my backpack. It’s easier with children,” traveler Denise Suri said.

Private security companies have already taken over 22 airports, including in San Francisco and Kansas City.”

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NY’s Security-Guard Industry Grows Amid Lax Oversight

“TV and movies tell us security guards are bumbling fat idiots. They are the butt of a joke. Falling asleep with their feet up, they never pay attention to those security camera monitors while burglars steal gold or priceless paintings or stacks of cash. They’re easily distracted, easily gagged and tied up and — as in Die Hard or The Matrix or countless other action films — easily killed.

In real life, they work long, boring hours strolling the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, waving metal detectors at Mets games, printing sticky visitor passes at commercial buildings, checking IDs at concerts, standing for hours and hours on end at public landmarks, department stores, colleges, pharmacies.

There are more than two times as many security guards than police officers in New York state and roughly 10 times as many guards as firefighters. While a lot of kids grow up itching to join the NYPD or the fire department, it’s hard to find someone who said they wanted to be a security guard when they grew up.

The guard who patrols a corporate plaza with an H&R Block and Chase Bank in Midtown wants to be a train conductor. The guard scanning IDs at a commercial office building near Grand Central dreams of a career as a stand-up comedian. The guard who works at a Duane Reade in the Upper West Side hopes to be a cop. The older guards who aren’t retired police officers, when asked what they think of a career in security, will shrug, as if to say, “It’s a job. It pays the rent.”

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Covenant Security Services Named to Forbes List of America’s Best Midsize Employers

“Covenant Security Services, the nation’s premier provider of comprehensive security services, was recently named by Forbes Media and Statista as one of America’s Best Midsize Employers in 2016. Covenant is the highest ranked security services company on the list and 66th overall out of 250 companies with over 1,000 employees.

As one of 250 companies receiving this recognition, Covenant Security Services was selected based on the attitude of its employees towards Covenant as well as the public perception of Covenant by industry employees. According to Forbes, the selection process is “based on an independent survey conducted by statistics portal Statista from a sample of 30,000 American employees working for large or midsize firms or institutions.”

“This is a great source of pride for Covenant Security Services,” Covenant President Greg Iannuzzi said. “Covenant does not exist without the efforts and hard work of our security professionals, and this is a true testament to our employee-focused culture.”

Covenant provides security services to over 150 client locations with nearly 4,000 security professionals throughout the country. Covenant is known within the security industry for its strong employee retention program, offering full medical, dental, and vision insurance along with free life insurance, a matching 401(k) program, flexible paid time off, transportation and commuter benefits, and career advancement opportunities.

In the survey conducted by Forbes and Statista, the most important metric of the assessment was the employees’ willingness to recommend their employer.”

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