CHICAGO (CBS) — As crime in the Chicago Transit Authority system continues to rise, the city is shelling out big bucks for the unarmed security guards it has added to the transit system to try to combat it.
The total figure is $71 million for one of the security companies CTA works with.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina got her hands on the contract, and we finally got some info on the requirements, training, and what these unarmed security guards are supposed to do — with lingering questions about their effectiveness at doing CTA safer.
The city struck a three-year deal with Monterrey Security Consultants for that pretty penny. It was signed, sealed and formalized on April 4.
Here is the full contract:
Here is the order authorizing the contract:
Through Public Records Requests, we got our hands on it and answered some of the questions the city and CTA have refused to answer for weeks.
We know that 200-220 unarmed guards are on the system seven days a week, as they work to reach 300 daily patrols.
We’ve learned the aim is to “provide a highly visible deterrent”, with these guards working four to eight hour shifts – covering around 50 different positions not listed on the CTA.
Security guards earn between $13.50 and $14.30 an hour and must be at least 21 years old, read and write English, and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
We were told that other guards were being trained.
Finally, we look at these training requirements. Guards must complete a 20-hour basic training course, hold a valid employee registration card, undergo interpersonal skills training, and spend a day participating in a “safety tour session on rapid transit rights-of-way”.
The contract is clear – guards must wear safety vests, as we have seen, and “must be alert and alert at all times during the shift”.
No phones are allowed at work.
Guards work in teams – defined as groups of two – although we’ve seen them work in much larger groups. This is something the CTA did not want to address when asked.
As for exactly what they are loaded with? Guards are required to report all crimes to the police; report any suspicious activity, packages or emergencies; and check in with a CTA employee when on a train or bus.
Their job is to prevent theft, vandalism and destruction of CTA property, as well as to warn intruders. They are also responsible for observing and detecting any unauthorized activity, and finally, “The protection of CTA employees, passengers and contractors from injury or death”.
Note that this information applies specifically to Monterrey Security Consultants. Other contractors also provide CTA with unarmed security guards.
We asked CTA if, to date, guards have intervened or prevented the violence. CTA has still not addressed this issue.
Molina contacted CTA with follow-up questions about the contract and the security guards, as well as the contractors currently working on the system. There had been no response Tuesday evening.