DC Schools' Security Company Folds Overnight

Police step in to help monitor students

By Tracee Wilkins
|  Friday, Oct 2, 2009  |  Updated 7:45 PM EDT
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School Insecurity: DCPS Without Guards

NBCWashington.com

D.C. police assume school security duties for a day.

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School Insecurity: DCPS Without Guards

Hundreds of security guards for D.C. Public Schools didn't show up to work on Friday, after the firm that employs them -- Hawk One Security, Inc. -- went out of business overnight.
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WASHINGTON -- Students and teachers escaped D.C. schools unscathed despite losing their security officers overnight.

Hundreds of D.C. school security officers were no-shows Friday morning after their employer, Hawk One Security Inc., folded. D.C. police stepped in to keep an eye on public schools.

"Yesterday we got the word that they were bowing out," said Richard Williams, a former supervisor with Hawk One. "That was it."

"We were informed yesterday evening after school got out that Hawk One had ceased operations," schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee said. "So we put into place contingency plans with MPD to ensure that there was coverage of all of the schools for today."

A high-ranking Hawk One official told NBC4 they had to close shop because D.C. Public Schools is their biggest customer and hasn't paid regularly in months. Rhee was unaware of the payment problem but said she wasn't happy with Hawk One anyway.

"We really felt that the officers needed more consistent training, that some officers were being too friendly with the students and that sort of thing and they weren't holding the highest expectations," she said.

Some of the Hawk One officers performed well, though, and they will be welcomed into Securitas or U.S. Security Associates, the two companies DCPS has hired to replace Hawk One. Hawk One's former officers contractually will be granted the first rights to interviews.

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