City again hires private security to patrol downtown
The city of Glenwood Springs has once again hired Citadel Security to be a presence downtown.
The decision was made at City Council’s July 22 special session when the downtown mask zone was instituted.
For the time being two security guards at a time will work from 5–10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, city manager Debra Figueroa said.
The guards will cost the city $28 per hour each, Figueroa said, which is $1,120 per week.
The city hired Citadel last summer and into the fall to patrol downtown.
“Just having uniformed personnel on site has made locals and tourists more comfortable and the undesirable elements less comfortable,” Councilor Steve Davis said in September.
This year, with the lockdown, there seemed little reason to hire Citadel back.
“We opted in the beginning of summer when everything was shut down not to rehire them,” Figueroa said.
But as restaurants opened back up and tourists returned to town, the downtown scene changed.
City officials decided to hire private security again, with the additional role of educating people about the mandatory mask zone.
“The primary responsibility is a presence downtown. We did it last year for the first time. It was pretty popular for a feeling of security for downtown businesses and visitors. Something they will be doing also is friendly mask enforcement. … They will have face masks, and they can give them to people,” Figueroa said.
At the July 22 meeting Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras said officers cannot dedicate their time to enforcing mask rules.
“We have to prioritize our calls for service. … A lot of times officers are unavailable to handle these types of calls,” he said.
The guards have no enforcement authority, but they can provide a consistent uniformed presence.
“They can get in touch with the police if they need them. They are not law enforcers. I think we have found through this that lots of times people need to be reminded in a friendly way,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa said there is no measurable way to judge if the private security has been effective.
“Just kind of by talking with the security guards and seeing how it’s going and how often they have to call the police department. I don’t think it’s a science, kind of more of an art,” she said.
The length of time the city will contract with Citadel is open-ended for now.
“There’s no specific timeline or deadline. There are discussions of continuing it into September, which is when a review will happen,” said Hannah Klausman, city of Glenwood Springs public information officer.
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