OPS contracting security guards

Students may have been noticing security officers in new uniforms around Central over the past couple months. Following a security officer shortage, OPS made the decision to contract security officers in the name of keeping schools safe.  

“OPS has contracted with some people. Since we’ve been short, they have had two people and they’ve been here for some weeks which has been pretty good for us,” principal Dionne Kirksey said.  

Security officer shortage is not only a Central problem; there have been issues district wide. Matter of fact, like many other labor positions, there has been an issue countrywide finding enough security guards to staff positions. Just this January, The Washington Post reported on an incident at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where an unidentified man was able to bypass security procedures by entering the building through an exit door. While he was escorted out and no damage was caused, the staff explains that the breach happened because the museum was so short-staffed that no guard was able to be stationed by the door the intruder entered.  

Kirksey explains that during any given point in the school year, Central will have four or five security guards stationed throughout the building. She says that at one point in the year, Central had less than this number, contracted or permanent, working in the building.  

“[The decision] goes through school safety, and then when people are available, they send them out to us. Our goal is to always make sure we have enough security guards and that we are safe in the building, and with those individuals it is very helpful,” Kirksey says. 

Like many things, security staffing shortage became an enlarged problem because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“I don’t think we saw a lot of things before COVID,” Kirksey said. “COVID began in March of 2020, and ever since then, it’s been different.” 

Kirksey said Central plans on keeping these security officers until they can find more permanent officers to fill the positions. 

“Since they’re not permanent OPS guards, and they’re contracted out, they wear the uniforms of the company they work for,” Kirksey explained. “I’m glad to have them. The extra eyes are good.”