Denver, CO

Denver committee awards $25 million contract to Securitas security

David Heitz

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A City Council committee approved Tuesday a $25 million contract with Securitas to provide security services citywide for three years.

The proposal will advance to the full City Council for a vote, probably next week. The city awarded the contract to Securitas because the firm was able to meet its needs. Securitas also worked with the city to raise wages for city security guards and provide them with good health insurance.

The city guards will enjoy a Kaiser Permanente 80-20 insurance plan. The idea is to give security guards decent enough pay and benefits that turnover won’t be a problem.

The industry has a turnover of about 100 percent per year, a Securitas representative said. That might mean the same 10 people turning over 10 times.

The guards will help with screening entrances to buildings, interior and exterior damage reports, safety violation reports and fire patrols and employee escorts.

Shelter employee stabbed

An employee of Denver Rescue Mission recently was stabbed to death at a city homeless shelter. He was leaving his shift for the night when the incident occurred. It was not clear why a guard did not escort him to his car.

For the past three years, the city has contracted with HSS security. That contract expires Dec. 31.

Securitas has been providing security at the shelters, however. Securitas already has a contract with the city. This contract would make them the principal security firm used by the city.

Securitas also will provide security at the city’s arts and entertainment venues. Securitas subcontracts with other security firms. Employees of those companies wear separate uniforms.

Council member watches out for subcontractors

Councilwoman Robin Kniech said she believes the subcontractors should receive a good wage and benefits, too. “I can’t imagine working side by side with a guy and I’ve got health insurance and you don’t.”

Austin King, a representative of Securitas, said it’s an option they could consider. He said the firm would bargain in good faith with the SEIU union.

“I consider this contract to be a floor, not a ceiling,” Kniech said.

Security guards would get $500 bonus

Securitas will offer city guards $500 hiring bonuses. Forbes named the company a top 500 diverse employer, with 60 percent of its employees coming from diverse backgrounds.

The $25 million would pay for 1,600 hours every two weeks for two years. The firm will hire 112 positions, including 101 unarmed guards and 11 armed guards.

The firm also agreed to a 60 percent increase in security officer education. Guards will be taught how to treat people experiencing homelessness with dignity so there are “informed, compassionate and positive interactions.”

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

Denver, CO
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