May 20, 2024 - News

Denver may spend $24 million for citywide security

A man stands with his arms held together while wearing a short sleeve shirt and a light vest with the word SECURITY over the shirt. Behind him, a hotel lobby is visible, and a woman can be seen walking nearby.

A security guard posted at the main entrance of a homeless shelter in Denver in April 2024. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

City officials want to add up to $24 million to three existing security contracts to improve services citywide, including at homeless and migrant shelters.

Why it matters: The money represents a major spike in spending.

State of play: Funding will cover security citywide, including services used by Arts and Venues, Clerk and Recorder, the Department of Housing Stability and Economic Development & Opportunity, General Service agency spokesperson Craig Wells tells us.

  • Each department using the services will help pay for the increased spending.

Between the lines: The security agreements will also cover eight housing sites and the shelters used for migrants, Denver Human Services spokesperson Jon Ewing tells us. Security personnel contracted by the city are not armed.

  • The 24/7 security includes foot patrols, reporting prohibited or illicit activities, and providing a visual presence for guests.

By the numbers: The largest additional spending includes $18 million for Securitas Security Services US, which will balloon its existing contract with the city to $43 million, city documents show, to cover security citywide.

The intrigue: Additional spending includes $3 million for Advanced Professional Security and $3 million for Denver Metro Protective Services, bringing their respective contract totals to $3.4 million each.

  • These two contracts build the city's capacity to provide emergency security needs for any city agency, Wells says.
  • These contract's length won't change; they run until Dec. 31, 2024, though the Securitas agreement includes an option to extend until December 2026.

Yes, but: The city's goal is not to spend the total amount, Ewing tells us.

  • His agency oversees the newcomer program for migrants, which is seeing a drop in arrivals. Despite this, Ewing says security will still be needed, hence the added spending.

What they're saying: "Security is incredibly expensive ... because whether you have 500 people in a shelter, or five people in a shelter, you need security," Ewing tells us.

  • It can provide a sense of comfort for people who are arriving from "traumatic situations," Ewing says.
  • Violence broke out at one site for people experiencing homelessness in March, prompting calls for increased security.

What's next: The contracts will be considered by the Denver City Council's finance and governance committee on Tuesday morning.

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