The security provided by private companies to protect Los Angeles County buildings is a joke.
At least that's the picture painted by contract security officers who participated in a recent study conducted by labor leaders.
Their training, they say, is deficient, equipment is sparse, and it often takes months to repair broken security devices such as X-Ray machines and metal detectors, placing both security officers and the public at risk.
According to the Service Employees International Union, 600 L.A. County workers were surveyed. The results revealed that:
-- 40 percent of private security officers stationed at county buildings say officers are not all properly trained;
-- 33 percent of officers say they don't have the equipment needed to properly protect county buildings;
-- Officers reported instances where it took months for basic security equipment such as X-Ray machines and metal detectors to be repaired.
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In addition, labor leaders say the survey reveals that the private security companies contracted by the county pay such low wages and offer such unfordable health care to officers that the officers are forced to rely on public health services, which in turn costs the county.
The study showed that 49 percent of the security officers go to the emergency room or a county clinic when they get sick or need a doctor.
"In fact," reports the SEIU, "the low wages and unfordable health care provided by these companies effectively passes the companies' cost of doing business on to County taxpayers."
L.A. County officials, according to Press TV, seem to be passing the buck, saying that is the responsibility of labor and private security-industry watchdogs to make sure officers are taken care of, and that workers should contact the county if contractors and not adhering to the law.