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CHICAGO (CBS) — As crime in the Chicago Transit Authority system continues to spike, the city is shelling out big bucks for unarmed security guards it has added to the transit system to try to fight it.
The total figure is $71 million for one of the security companies with which the CTA is working.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina got her hands on the contract, and we finally got some information on requirements, training, and what those unarmed security guards are supposed to be doing – with questions still lingering about how effective they’ve been at making the CTA any safer.
The city has entered into a three-year contract with Monterrey Security Consultants for that pretty penny. It was signed, sealed, and made official on April 4.
This is the full contract:
This is the ordinance authorizing the contract:
Thanks to public records requests, we got our hands on this and answers to some of the questions the city and the CTA have refused to address for weeks.
We know 200 to 220 unarmed guards are on the system seven days a week, as they work to get to 300 on patrol daily.
We’ve learned the goal is to “provide highly visible deterrent force,” with those guards working four- to eight-hour shifts – covering about 50 different unlisted posts on the CTA.
The security guards are making between $13.50 to $14.30 an hour, and are required to be at least 21, read and write English, and have a high school degree or equivalent.
We have been told more guards are being trained.
We are also now finally getting a look at those training requirements. Guards have to complete a 20-hour basic training course, hold a valid employee registration card, get training in interpersonal relationship skills, and spend a day taking a “Rapid Transit Right-Of-Way Safety Tour session.”
The contract is clear – the guards have to wear safety vests, like we’ve seen, and “must be attentive and alert at all times during shift.”
No phones are allowed on the job.
The guards are working in teams – defined as groups of two – though we have seen them working in much larger groups. That was something the CTA wouldn’t address when asked.
As for exactly what they’re tasked with? Guards are told to report all crimes to police; report any suspicious activity, packages, or emergencies; and check in and out with a CTA employee when they’re on a train or bus.
Their job is preventing theft, vandalism, and destruction of CTA property, and also preventing trespassers. They are also tasked with observing and detecting any unauthorized activity, and finally, “The Protection of CTA Employees, Passengers and Contractors from bodily harm or death.”
Note that this information applies specifically to Monterrey Security Consultants. There are other subcontractors also providing the CTA with unarmed security guards.
We’ve asked the CTA if, to this day, guards have intervened or prevented violence. The CTA still has not addressed that question.
Molina reached the CTA with follow-up questions about the contract and the security guards, and subcontractors currently working the system. There had not been a response as of late Tuesday.