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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

UPDATED: Armed guards at city hall


Jane Prendergast reports:

Visitors to Cincinnati City Hall now have to pass armed security officers.

More than two years after Mayor Mark Mallory ordered metal detectors removed, security has been beefed up again. Councilwoman Laketa Cole asked for a security review, expressing concern for herself and her all-female staff in light of shootings last month at a council meeting in Kirkwood, Mo.

The city will pay $174,000 a year for the armed guards from Elite Protective Services, said Tiffaney Hardy, a city spokeswoman. The Roselawn company was hired as a subcontractor by a company that handles other city work, including cleaning. An additional $25,000 was allotted for possible overtime for night meetings, she said, and weekend events.

The guards, who started Monday, are the biggest change in security around the building since the 2006 shooting outside of activist Kabaka Oba helped prompt Mallory to hire a bodyguard. Council chambers were fitted with bullet-resistant paneling at about the same time. The paneling protects council members’ lower halves as they sit on the dais during meetings.

Cole specifically asked that officials consider re-installing the metal detectors taken out after Mallory took office in late 2005. Several council members, including John Cranley, Jeff Berding and Chris Bortz, expressed concern about that, saying they believe City Hall should remain as accessible and open as possible.

Bortz said Tuesday that he finds the guards more acceptable than metal detectors because “metal detectors send a different signal, a blockade.” He said he isn’t sure if members of the general public would notice that the new guards carry guns, compared with the check-in personnel, who didn’t.

“I think if someone wants to hurt someone in City Hall, they’re going to do it,” he said. “You always run the risk. But I trust the manager to make the best decision.”

Councilman John Cranley said he “didn’t see the need for a change” and would’ve voted against it if the idea had been put before council for a vote, but that he wasn’t “going to make a federal case out of it.” He said City Manager Milton Dohoney said he had the money in his budget to pay for the plan.

City spokeswoman Meg Olberding had said as recently as last week that no security decisions had been made, but that security was always under review.

Dohoney echoed part of that in his Monday memo to the mayor and council notifying them of the added guards: “The city of Cincinnati administration is continuously evaluating its security at city hall. Changes will be made whenever it is deemed appropriate.”

Employees still have to show their identification badges, and visitors still have to sign in for temporary badges.

Elite, based in Roselawn, has been in the news before. In 2003, the mayor’s brother, Dale Mallory, then president of the West End Community Council, wanted the city to give Elite a $10,000 contract to patrol the West End and cut down on crime there. That never happened.
Elite also has been among the agencies committed to becoming tenants in the proposed controversial CityLink, a mall of social services including medical services and job training. The project recently got a go-ahead from the 1st District Court of Appeals, which upheld a lower court’s order to force the city to issue the necessary zoning permit.

Elite founder and president Duane Weems did not return a phone call to talk about his company’s new work.

Elite’s Web site, www.eliteproservice.com, shows officers posing with Jerry Springer, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Jamie Foxx. It also says a majority of Elite’s staff are police officers in various communities, meaning they have been trained and certified according to Ohio Police Officer Training Academy standards. It also says a majority of Elite’s staff are police officers in various communities, meaning they have been trained and certified according to Ohio Police Officer Training Academy standards.


at 1:26 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Ms. Cole pay for private security officers for my neighborhood? We'd like to have them.

at 1:29 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about we trying using people that work for Cincinnati police. Instead of waisting taxpayers money on a private security firm. They are protecting city property.

at 1:53 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will this stop council from making stupid decisions? Is it shoot on site?

at 2:15 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Laketa should provide security for other in the community, outside City Hall. I also would bet the ranch that Laketa has some type of connection with Elite Protective Services. Someone she knows, knows a baby daddy who knows some other bro who knows a baby daddy who knows another baby daddy etc, etc who owns the company.....it gets kind of old after awhile....

at 2:20 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely sentiments, you racist cretin who posted at 2:15.

at 2:22 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Ms. Cole and her staff were to get concealed carry permits and make it publicly known, then the odds of her being attacked drops greatly at no cost to the taxpayer.

at 2:33 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 2:36 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone should look into whether it was a no-bid contract for security services.

at 2:37 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I own stock in a company that builds street cars, at least let them keep the guards till we get the contract.

at 2:41 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell does being a female with an all-female staff have to do with being shot at? Is her staff all-female for the sake of being so, or because they were all the most qualified? And who is paying for all this?

at 2:58 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea to have armed guards... Just look at the angry comments directed to city hall in posts like these each day. All it takes is once person. I support the armed guards because obviously threats and ill will are directed towards members of city hall much more so than the average person or family. Was it St. Louis or somewhere close to there that 1 person did succeed in gunning down 4 members of city council recently?

Also - several racists on here. Not surprising - this is Cincinnati. Home of loser Bill Cunningham and idiot his followers.

at 3:04 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that all of you need to quit your crying. Is there no one
happy in this city? It seems that everyone in cincinnnati does nothing but cry and complain about everything.

at 3:08 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like city council is moving in the wrong direction. Living in fear of the people they have sworn to serve. Maybe their perception of how important they are is a bit inflated. I thought the city manager ran the city, why do we need so many council members anyway. One or two less would have what effect on the city's operations? If they are in fear let them pay for their own security or seek counseling to overcome their fears.

at 3:10 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cry about it. I hear that crying makes it better.(not) Is there anyone in this city happy? All everyone wants to do in Cincinnati is cry and complain about something all the time. If it's not the security at city hall, then it will be something else.

at 3:12 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how if someone disagrees with a poster they label you a Racist. The most overused word ever. I bet it was a no bid contract. For the person who calls Cunningham a loser, you are lost. Bill is as successful as they come. Maybe you are a just a little jealous?

Conceal carry is without a doubt the way to go for Council members.
I am shocked if all them don't pack heat. The name calling by the democrats never ceases to amaze me because down to the core that is who you people are. You can't win is business unless it is a no bid contract, a union, or hook me up deal.

at 3:25 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was this a no-bid contract or did Elite provide the lowest responsible bid?

at 3:33 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta love the Republicans that call Democrats name callers. The the only thing I hear from Republicans is name calling. They continually bash the Democrats because they don't understand anything but 1 side of an issue. I see it as a sign of fear and realization that there party is a leading cause for the way things are going right now.

at 3:42 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the 2:20pm post, it is unfortunate that I cannot respond to this situation without being called a racist. While my comments may be more descriptive than you care to hear, the bottom line is that CPD should be protecting City Hall not some private security agency with ties to Laketa and/or her staff.

at 3:42 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud someone for thinking about the safety of the employees. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring security for the building. Does seem a shame though to not use your own and hire from the outside. On the other hand, if other government buildings want security, they have to hire their own also. No matter what you do in the city of Cincinnati, people will definitely complain about it. They won't leave and move on, they'll just complain......

at 3:46 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and all female staff?!?

Ms. Cole probably thinks she's progressive in her diverse hiring practices. And if one of her constituents employed and all-male staff, she'd denounce that company as bigots.

/scratching head/

at 4:01 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many of you communicate as if you're illiterate, yet you expect your "point" to be taken seriously? Example? The post from 3:12.

at 4:15 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps she mentioned an all-woman staff because she fears sexual violence. I am a student and I refuse to walk in a parking lot at night by myself...so I can't imagine if I had a job that regularly ticks people off.

All other issues aside, I see nothing wrong with the decision in general.

at 4:23 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

If members in City Hall feel that it's unsafe for them to walk around without security, what do they think of the safety of downtown? Change should start from the top. Instead of buying security, why don't you spend that money on cleaning the streets, or help fund the police. It doesn't matter what political side you are on, this is a waste of money.

at 4:46 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can bet that the people laving the negative comments don't even live in the City. They are freaking suburbanites.

at 4:51 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a hypocrite. She is anti-gun, yet she has people with guns protecting her. Same to you Mark Mallory.

at 5:20 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cincinnati Police Officers are paid much more than security officers.

at 5:25 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Laketa Cole wanted armed security guards to protect her from her boyfriend's pregnant girlfriend.

at 5:29 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:15...what an idiot you are. Get a life!

at 5:53 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have armed guards at my office. I also make important decisions during the day. If you want to protect yourself carry a gun or don't be the worst politician this city has ever witnessed. This is typical big spending Democrat politics. They tax the rich and use the money for their own good - not for the good of the public.

at 5:57 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why am I complaining about this??? Well, my big issue with it is that I am paying for it. Everyone on this post is paying for it. I'd rather spend the $300,000 on demolishing the Freedom Center and building something useful on the riverfront.

at 6:13 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with carrying a concealed weapon. As a teacher, we are permitted to carry concealed weapons and most know that. Problems solved. I think the Cincinnati Police Department should accidentally use the taser on Laketa Cole... that would be funny.

at 7:03 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another waste of money by City Hall.

at 8:22 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can just see how this ends. The hired armed guard shoots somebody and they die. The City gets sued and another multi million dollar settlement gets paid by the taxpayers to someone who won't respect authority.

at 8:29 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I wouldn't want to be shot by a crazed gunman either. And knowing how people are in Cincinnati... you never know who'll be coming into those city council meetings.

I'm sure the people who talked about racism read that post about somebody's baby mama - Lets not pretend that person wasn't trying to racist with those statements.

at 8:39 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The City could save a lot of money for security and have everyone feel safe by moving City Hall out to the County.

at 10:44 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the people on this blog aren't getting it!

Elite Protective Services are cozy buds of Dale Mallory!!!

You know Dale. Bro of 3M.

Yeah, Elite was probably the lowest bidder. Our tax dollars will be split in 2 ways - a portion for pay to Elite & the commissions to the Mallory Enterprises!

Wake Up, Cincinnati!!!

at 10:45 PM, March 11, 2008 Anonymous newsbabe said...

Why does the city now have at least 2 spokespeople? Since when did this development happen? We in the media have a hard enough time getting information out of the one overpaid spokeswoman, now we have 2 overpaid people to deal with?

at 9:21 AM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand the need for security in all government offices just as clearly as I can see the desire to inflict great pain upon many of those in positions of power.

at 10:44 AM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider this point: Is there a real and likely threat here that needs to be addressed? My answer is no. I say that because I can't recall the last time I read in the Enquirer where a mayor, a council member, or some support staff member ever got robbed, assaulted, or otherwised shot dead by anyone inside of city hall.

A second point which has been addressed by some others:If this added security is to be done it is Cincinnati police officers that should be providing security for city hall and not some private company. The argument that private security costs less here is false. Employing private security adds to the cost of government when you already have a 1000+ member police force that you are paying for.

A third point here to consider which has also been touched on by some is the fact that use of concealed carry weapons by anyone working or visiting city hall should be allowed assuming they are honest citizens without criminal intent and without a legal disability to carry. This option allows for police to be deployed elsewhere in order to make better use of their time and efforts, it also prevents the additional need and cost of hiring private security, and most importantly it restores balance again between the people and the government in place that is suppose to be working for the people.

Of course when was the last time you saw or heard a government at any level make the right choice on something like this. Universally speaking government's response here has been to seperate itself from the people, make all kinds of restrictions that do nothing meaningful about security because the restrictions only serve to keep away those who are not criminally inclined to begin with and set people up to be victims of a mass shooting like we have seen at every "no gun" location around this country and around this world.

at 12:42 PM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can bet that most of the people complaing on this board do not even live in the City-they are suburban rubes.

at 1:54 PM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I checked the Elite Protective Services website and it said that "many" of their guards have received police training, not the "majority." So who are these guys? I went to a meeting a couple years ago in the West End about CityLink and they were talking about EPS's program to hire those with drug convictions and train them to be security guards. CPD won't hire them -- is that why the city went with EPS?

at 4:10 PM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

since we're not using cincinnati's finest for something that should be within their responsibilities it makes you wonder whose benefitting by privatizing this. as years of neocon corruption have taught us, anytime you privatize something, its to fleece the public.

at 5:29 PM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mallorys have pimped Elite for years.
Dale wanted to use ADP money in 2003 for his private police force in the West End.
The Mayor used his library ties to get those bozos hired to sleep in the librarys
Dale touted CityLink as the new headquarters for Elite.
CityLink's security was to be Elite.
The Mallory hard sell of Elite tells me they get a piece of the action.
Mallorys always get a kickback.

at 6:01 PM, March 12, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to check with the state as to whether Elite is even incorporated in Ohio. I heard rumors that an Elite security detail at a sporting event several years ago was a fiasco. Several Elite gaurds were found to have warrants outstanding against them.

at 7:00 PM, March 12, 2008 Blogger usefullidiot said...

Private contractors have worked real good for us in Iraq...no reason they won't at sh***y hall, eh???

at 10:11 AM, March 13, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a bold statement from City Council if they feel they need armed protection.
They can't say that Cincinnati is safe anymore for the general populace that don't have armed guards at their disposal.
If some smart news reporter follows the money trail, they will easily find Elite's connection to City Council.

at 7:37 PM, March 13, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Mallory's bodyguard, Scottie Johnson was a regular DJ on the BUZZ. During the Mayor's campaign hour after hour Scottie would bash Pepper and give free advertising for Mallory. As the President of the Sentinals, Officer Johnson committed the organizations full resources backing Mallory. The payback, tens of thousands of taxpayers dollars overtime pay to boost Officer Johnson bank account and his City funded pension which is calculated on the final years of employment. The Mallory ALL make big livings at the taxpayers expense. Elite is just one more example. The boys learned from the best, Pappy and Fannie. They are very polished at the art.

at 11:10 AM, March 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks to me like we have shifted white political corruption to black political corruption.
Where's Jesse Jackson when we need a shakedown?

at 8:39 AM, March 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Lord, when will we get a newspaper that will investigate the issues in this blog? City Beat may be the only one with the guts. To be sure, any real investigation will be called "racist" or worse. But ignoring the facts could be far ,far, worse. If an employee of Elite shoots a council patron, the cry will go up that the employee was not properly trained and ,once again the City will be hoisted upon legal gravy train. Save a little money hiring cronies and loose alot of taxpayer dollars in court. If this does'nt beg for an investigation...WHAT WOULD?

at 12:53 PM, March 16, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:39
Read anon 3-11-08 8:22PM

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