By Mike Kinney
Responding to increased public safety problems in and around the Richmond Public Library’s main branch, the city is set to require its security provider to patrol the Library every two hours during business hours and increases the capability of staff to communicate with guards.
Children’s Librarian Sheila Dickinson recently appealed to City Council on behalf of staff and users of the Library at 325 Civic Center Plaza to do something about an increase in the past six months in incidents including public urination, drug and alcohol use, physical altercations and panhandling.
The Richmond Police Department has taken action on the matter. RPD is set to renew the city’s contract with Allied Universal to provide security services at both the Civic Center campus and also the Port of Richmond Point Potrero Terminal and Terminal One, where historic buildings have been victimized by theft and vandalism in the past.
According to Richmond police Capt Al Walle, the new contract for Allied Universal starting Jan. 1 requires, in addition to monitoring of closed circuit television cameras and Civic Center campus buildings, that security guards enter the Richmond Main Branch Public Library every two hours to address public safety issues at the Library. Guards will have new mobile phones to respond to safety concerns by city staff or visitors.
According to the contract, one unarmed guard will be assigned at the City Hall building located at 450 Civic Center Plaza from Monday through Friday, between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. on days City Hall is open for normal business. On weekends and holidays, one unarmed security guard will be stationed at the receptionist desk 24 hours a day. A second security officer will be assigned in the lobby of 440 Civic Center Plaza from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Tuesday, which is when council meetings occur, security will be assigned to 440 Civic Center Plaza from 11 a.m. to midnight. This guard is also responsible for patrolling parking lots and exteriors of buildings at Civic Center campus, including the Library every two hours during business hours.
Per the contract, a Richmond police lieutenant, representatives from Allied Universal and city staff would meet once a month to be briefed on any new problems or situations, Walle said.
The contract is scheduled for a vote at City Council’s next meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17.