Detroit Public Schools hires private security firm

DETROIT --

Detroit Public Schools is implementing a new one-year contract that is expected to save the district more than $5.5 million annually.

School officials hope the contract executed with Securitas security services will improve school safety and reduce absenteeism among security personnel.

The contract, which runs from runs from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, goes hand in hand with a $41.7 million safety and security initiative for the district.

The contract with Securitas costs the district approximately $6.5 million. DPS was previously paying $11 million to employ 226 security officers.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said the district has faced challenges in the past with security officers not showing up for work

July reports showed that 11 to 12 percent of the district's security officers were absent on a daily basis.

“Our new contract with Securitas will not only save the district millions of dollars but will, most importantly, improve the safety of our students and staff by allowing us to hold these new security personnel accountable,” Bobb said.

In February, DPS launched a pilot program with Securitas personnel at four high schools and reported positive results.

Securitas school security personnel will receive training from the Office of Public Safety in areas such as report writing and procedures, diversity and sexual harassment, handcuffing procedures, metal detector and wand use, backpack searches and more.

As part of the safety and security plan, 100 digital camera systems will be installed to each of the district’s high schools to allow DPS police officers to monitor cameras over the internet.

K-8 school will get 32 cameras each, and elementary schools will get 24 cameras each. Areas under surveillance will include stairwells, parking lots, entrances, storage closets, gyms, cafeterias and hallways.

The district is also building a $5.6 million Public Safety Headquarters and Operation Center, which will serve as the base of operations for the district-wide security system.

DPS Police Officers will not be affected by the contract.

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