City Council Postpones Action On "Private Guards" at Jail

City Council was expected this week to vote on a proposal to hire a private security company to operate the understaffed Culver City Jail for the next five years.

However, at its Monday night meeting, the Council decided to postponed action on the $2 million service contract, following news reporting that the security company, G4S Security Solutions, has been plagued by scandals in the United States and overseas.

In its marketing brochures and contract bids, G4S Security Solutions sells itself as a private army of experienced guards who are able to protect people at a fraction of the cost of police.

But the USA Today reporting revealed a pattern of questionable hires at G4S, abuse, neglect and violence inflicted by G4S staff.

"G4S has sometimes given power, authority and weapons to individuals who represent the very threat they are meant to guard against," according to the daily newspaper. "Documents show the company's American subsidiaries have hired or retained at least 300 employees with questionable records, including criminal convictions, allegations of violence and prior law enforcement careers that ended in disgrace. Some went on to rape, assault, or shoot people – including while on duty."

Before the meeting, Vice Mayor Alex Fisch wrote on his twitter account that the Culver City Jail has been understaffed for several years and bringing its operation up to standard would require the hiring of "5 more jailers at a significant cost."

He explained that contracting for jail operations would bring the facility into compliance and save the city roughly $400,000 per year.

Fisch also noted that the jail contract may be controversial and may require more input from the local public.

In other matters, the City Council voted unanimously to extend the eviction moratorium to September 30 and to allocate $1.5 million to the emergency rental assistance program.


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