A vote to approve a controversial agreement to employ handgun-equipped private security guards at Muni yards was postponed Tuesday over concerns that the guards would not receive a sufficient amount of firearms training.
The proposed $38 million agreement between the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and Cypress Security, a local private security firm that serves retail stores, office buildings, and museums (among others), has faced scrutiny over allegations of ethics violations during the bidding and selection process for the contract.
A vote on the agreement was put on hold by the Board last month pending the resolution of those ethics issues, the Ex reported in March.
But though those issues were apparently resolved to the Board's satisfaction, the vote to OK the six-year contract was postponed again yesterday, after several supes raised concerns over the transit agency's need for guards armed with guns, and over how little the contractors are trained to use the weapons.
According to Bay City News, supervisors including David Campos, Malia Cohen and Jane Kim raised concerns that the guards would only receive 16 hours of handgun training before being set loose to guard Muni's yards.
In Tuesday's session, Kim said that her mom was a shopkeeper who'd been held at gunpoint three times in her life, but that she doesn't believe that if her mom had had a gun and only 16 hours of training that she would have been any safer.
Other supes asked if Muni's guards need guns at all. BCN reports that "many supervisors said they would like to see evidence to support the claim that the SFMTA must continue to have armed security guards. If there is no evidence, many supervisors said they would not approve the new six-year contract with Cypress Security."
Supervisor David Campos said that if the MTA can't provide any evidence that Muni needs guards armed with guns, then SF should look to security companies without armed guards, instead.
Whatever is decided, the clock is ticking: Muni's current security contract expires at the end of April. As there's no way a new competitive bidding process, approval by the SFMTA board, and eventual approval by the Board of Supes could all get done by the end of the month, it's unclear who'll be guarding Muni's yards in May.