D.C. City Council Calls For Removal Of Contracted Security Company
The largest security company in Washington, D.C. is putting our nation’s capital at risk, according to a letter of concern signed by all 13 members of the D.C. City Council. Last week, the Council sent a letter to the Office of Contracting and Procurement urging to “not allow this company to continue benefiting from taxpayer funded multi-million dollar contracts” and immediately bring in a responsible contractor that can be trusted.
The contractor, U.S. Security, has repeatedly been fined by the District of Columbia for violating security and contract requirements this year, and failed drills to detect weapons in city buildings. Yet the company still remains the contractor at more than 76 schools and municipal buildings throughout the city, leaving residents and Council members wondering why.
Fox 5 News reports that the D.C. City Council has lost all confidence in the firm, citing that investigators were able to penetrate security at schools and government buildings by slipping weapons past guards undetected, and has faced other serious problems:
In a letter to the District’s Chief Procurement Officer, the council members complain U.S. Security Associates has, “a history of questionable conduct and discrimination complaints, including two lawsuits by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a recent $2.5 million jury verdict for sexual harassment and retaliation, as well as sizeable wage and hour litigation.”
In an interview at the Wilson Building Tuesday, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser told FOX 5, “We want to make sure that the types of security that’s provided in our buildings is the best of the best, so we want to make sure that agencies, just like other contracts, have in place qualified companies to protect our citizens in the District.”
Washington has already paid the price of poor security in the past. Last year, security contractor Hawk One was fired, “after a four-year record of poor supervision, inadequate training, ineffectiveness and ‘fraternizing with students,” according to the Washington City Paper.
D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles is now conducting a review of U.S. Security and its contract with the city. D.C. taxpayers pay U.S. Security more than $40 million a year to protect local schools and city buildings.
U.S. Security’s record is alarming to members of SEIU Local 32BJ, who have been working for years with responsible security contractors and elected officials to enhance training, raise industry standards and improve life for security officers. 32BJ has called on Mayor Adrian Fenty to end the irresponsible contract and stop skirting his responsibility in putting D.C. first.
After the failed tests, The Washington Post reports, U.S. Security sent a memo to its 300 officers in the District, threatening to fire those who did not do their jobs. But the current contract ends in September, and many are hoping it won’t be renewed by Mayor Fenty’s administration.
As the Washington City Paper put it, “With security contractors like these, who needs criminals?”