Two local law enforcement agencies, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and the Sacramento Police Department, now have expanded authority to contract out security services after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last week, according to an article from The Sacramento Bee.
An existing law allowed agencies across the state to hire security officers – who can be armed but do not have the authority of peace officers – for contract work at government-owned buildings and sites, the article says.
For example, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department hires such security officers to monitor the entrances of the Main Jail, the county's courthouses and Folsom Dam.
According to the Sacramento Bee, “Assembly Bill 1643, written by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, and backed by the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs' Association, expands that reach to any facility that supports national security, is part of critical infrastructure or stores materials that could threaten national security.”
It applies only to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the Sacramento Police Department, the article says.
The department makes a profit off its contracts. But, according to the article, Sheriff Scott Jones said the bill was not just about money: He said the most important function is offering a higher quality option for security at critical sites.
His agency's security officers have the support of the entire department – including K9s, helicopters and a bomb squad – in the event of a crisis, he said.
In the article, Kevin Mickelson, president of the Deputy Sheriffs' Association, said that having sheriff's employees on site – including sworn deputies supervising the security officers – at the start of an emergency could reduce critical time delays sometimes created by dealing with a third-party security agency.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the bill was opposed by the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards and Associates, which described the bill as "bad public policy."
Jeff Flint, senior adviser for the association, said the opposition was not grounded in a fear of competition, saying there are more than 1,000 licensed security firms already in the state that regularly compete with each other for business.