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Homeland Security?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by boots, May 30, 2007.

  1. boots

    boots New Member

    This is frightening.
    WASHINGTON — Richard Bergendahl fights the war on terrorism in Los Angeles for $19,000 a year, one of the legions of ill-trained, low-paid private security guards protecting tempting terrorist targets. Down the block from his high rise is a skyscraper identified by President Bush as a target for a Sept. 11-style airplane attack.
    Bergendahl, 55, says he often thinks: “Well, what am I doing here? These people are paying me minimum wage.”
    The security guard industry found itself involuntarily transformed after September 2001, from an army of “rent-a-cops” to protectors of the homeland. Yet, many security officers are paid little more than restaurant cooks or janitors.
    And the industry is governed by a maze of conflicting state rules, according to a nationwide survey by The Associated Press. Wide chasms exist among states in requirements for training and background checks. Tens of thousands of guard applicants were found to have criminal backgrounds.
    A New Jersey Democratic congressman, Rep. Robert Andrews, said he’s confident that lawmakers will support a bill he sponsored to upgrade the industry by requiring criminal background checks for all U.S. security guards.
    “How much is it worth not to have one criminal guarding a nuclear power plant?” he asked.
    Andrews said the checks will have the effect of raising pay, because they will weed out many guards whose criminal histories lead them to accept the lowest salaries.
    “This is one area where doing things on the cheap is a really bad idea,” Andrews said.
    The pay for security guards generally is low. In an annual survey of employers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median hourly pay for security guards in 2006 was $11.35, compared to restaurant cooks at $10.11, janitors at $10.45 and laboratory animal caretakers at $10.13.
    Police patrol officers were at $23.27, emergency management specialists $24.26 and firefighters $20.37. The median reflects the same number of individuals above those amounts as below.
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