OCEANSIDE — The city has hired Gatekeepers Security Services to patrol the harbor overnight.
At its Dec. 21 meeting, the City Council approved a two-year contract for nearly $211,000 with private Hemet-based security company Gatekeepers Security Services.
The plan to hire private security to provide overnight monitoring of harbor restrooms, buildings, parking lots, businesses and the beach was set in October when the council approved the new fire and lifeguard safety services plan, which eliminated the police department patrol of the harbor district.
One security officer will patrol the harbor from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week.
The city interviewed Gatekeepers and Hollywood Elite Security of Los Angeles for the contract. Based on the interviews, city staff awarded Gatekeepers the top ranking.
If desired, the city can renew its contract with Gatekeepers for three additional one-year terms. Gatekeepers also provide 24/7 unarmed security services in the downtown area through an agreement with MainStreet Oceanside.
City Council voted in favor of hiring Gatekeepers for the harbor in a 4-1 vote, with newly-elected Councilmember Eric Joyce opposed.
Joyce explained that he had heard significant concerns about the conduct of Gatekeeper’s security officers during their patrols of the downtown area.
“We’ve received positive comments from business owners too, but the overwhelming voice I keep hearing is that the conduct is concerning,” Joyce said. “I would not support us taking on a two-year contract with Gatekeepers.”
In his comments at the council meeting, Joyce did not expand on what type kind of misconduct had ben attributed to the Gatekeepers. However, Joyce told The Coast News that some residents reported feeling as if they were being followed by Gatekeepers’ security guards while minding their business walking downtown.
“When you’re in your city, and you feel like you’re being watched is not something we want our residents experiencing,” Joyce said. “You have to balance that feeling of security to ensure everyone feels secure.”