Some guards at Orange County facilities were not properly trained, audit finds

Security guards were also overworked

Photo does not have a caption

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – An audit to evaluate Orange County's contract with a security service that provides guards to courthouses, the juvenile justice center and other facilities found that some guards were not properly trained, others were overworked and some had expired licenses.

The Orange County Comptroller's Office conducted the audit into Facilities Management Division's contract with G4S Secure Solutions from July 2016 to December 2017 and released the results on Thursday.

The key findings of the audit that were in violation of the $14 million contract were: the effectiveness of security screeners was not tested, 45 percent of sampled security screeners never received initial training, there were more than 100 instances in a 14-week period where guards worked more than 24 hours in a 48-hour period, electronic access cards for guards who were no longer employed with the county were not deactivated in a timely matter and licensing status of the guards was not properly monitored.

"There wasn’t documentation that they were testing the way they should have been testing," said Comptroller Phil Diamond. "The taxpayers have paid about $13-14 million over the past 6-7 years." 

The report noted that having security guards who are overworked and not properly trained could pose a risk to people who work and visit the facilities.

As a result of the audit, officials from the Facilities Management Division plan to work with G4S Secure Solutions to ensure that all stipulations of the contract are being met, particularly when it comes to making sure that guards are trained, licensed and performing their duties effectively.

Amendments to the current contract will be made to ensure that G4S Secure Solutions provides documentation to prove that guards are trained and that the county is given a roster of names so that access cards are deactivated in a timely manner for any guard who is no longer working for the county.

Orange County resident Josh Yoho said he finds the situation to be disappointing.

"That’s ridiculous. You kind of think that government Associations will stay on top of things like training," Yoho 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," a spokeswoman from Orange County government said.

The audit noted that there was a lack of clarity when it came to ensuring complinace on certain aspects of the contract and that overall, G4S Secure Solutions has performed satisfactorily.

To read the audit in its entirety, click here.

News 6 reached out to G4S secure Solutions but has not heard back.

About the Author: