Sheriff's memo underscores concern over courthouse security

More concerns are coming forward about a pricey security contract in Orange County.

Memorandums from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to Orange County Facility Management express unsatisfactory results, during unannounced tests of the private security team contracted to protect the Orange County Courthouse.

The tests, which the memos say happened on September 27 and November 2 of last year, were checking on security screeners and equipment with G4S Securityy. The memos state “…the results of the unannounced test were unsatisfactory.”

G4S and their contract with the county has been under scrutiny since an audit of the company came out last week.  The report released by the Orange County Comptroller says the company provides guards and screeners for several buildings including the county courthouses, administration buildings, and juvenile justice center. 

During the audit period from July 2016 to December 2017, Comptroller Phil Diamond’s office found a number of potential issues.

Among them, the audit found no evidence that nearly half of the security screeners got initial training or quarterly testing, some access cards were taken but not deactivated when guards were terminated, and on more than 100 occasions guards worked more than 24 hours in a 48 hour period.

In a statement Thursday, Orange County representative Kelly Finkelstein said:

“Orange County Government is continually working with law enforcement and G4S to proactively monitor security measures for all County facilities. The County has completed a thorough review of the Comptroller’s audit findings and developed an immediate action plan to address each finding. The contract ends next year and the County is evaluating the specifics to be certain all areas of concern are addressed to ensure the safety of all citizens within a county building.”

With the recent memos being released, leaders with G4S did issue a statement to the News Station saying:  G4S has a strong working relationship with the Orange County Government and we have addressed the issues in the report. We proactively work to provide high level security and safety for our client and its visitors.