Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Watkins out, Hawk in (for now)

Watkins Security, controversial DCPS security contractor, is about to be replaced by DC based Hawk One Security, at least for the next two year at which point DCPS will take responsibility for their own security.
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams is asking the D.C. Council to approve an estimated $15.1 million-per-year contract for the next two years with District-based Hawk One Security to provide security guards in the city schools.
This new plan faces some opposition from School Board President Peggy Cooper-Cafritz. Her concerns are two fold. First, the cost of the contract is much higher than comparative contracts at other urban school districts. Second, Cooper-Cafritz feels that DCPS should take over the responsibility for security a year earlier than the Mayor's plan. DC Council members are also raising concerns.
D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat and chairman of the council's Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation, said she has asked that interim Inspector General Austin A. Andersen review the school system's latest security arrangements.

Meanwhile, council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, was dissatisfied with the new plans, saying that the Metropolitan Police Department "has other things to do" than oversee the school system's security contract.

Council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat and chairman of the council's Committee on the Judiciary, expressed frustration that police officials have not said how much the new oversight duties will cost or detract from other responsibilities.

Mr. Reiskin told The Washington Times after yesterday's hearing that he was not sure whether Hawk One has had previous experience providing guards in schools.

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