Housing authority replaces security at Las Vegas properties

Interim Executive Director Amparo Gamazo during the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority’s new board budget meeting at the headquarters on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Las Vegas. Morgan Lieberman Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority has cut ties with a security company it hired just over a year ago to protect public housing residents, citing concerns from staff and tenants.

Since February 2017, American Guard Services’ duties had included patrolling housing authority developments overnight and providing staff with detailed daily reports on what transpired each shift.

But the security company often turned in reports late and without sufficient detail, according to Patricia Stephens, the authority’s public operations director. Public housing residents also complained that they didn’t see guards making patrols, she said.

“It’s as if they weren’t there. They didn’t make their presence known,” Stephens said. “They’re our eyes and ears on the properties, at those houses, and we need to know what’s going on.”

The authority ended its $2 million, five-year contract with American Guard Services on March 7 and enlisted Triton Security, which had unsuccessfully bid for the contract in 2016. The housing authority paid only for the dates it received service, not for the full contract, Stephens said.

Stephens said staff and residents are much happier with the change of guard.

Housing authority commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a five-year contract with Triton Security worth $2 million.

Neither contract provides for around-the-clock security services. None of the authority’s 21 public housing developments receives security every night, and six have no security detail at all.

Interim Executive Director Amparo Gamazo said the authority partners with local police departments to patrol through public housing on nights when security guards don’t.

“If we don’t have security, we ask them to drive by and keep an eye out,” Gamazo said. “It is a funding limitation.”

American Guard Services did not return a request for comment as of Thursday night.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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