G4S, the security company that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen worked for prior to opening fire inside the Pulse Nightclub, will be providing security guards to protect Buffalo City Hall.
At least seven security guards, armed with G4S-issued weapons, will be working at City Hall as part of a broader safety overhaul at the public building, 7 Eyewitness News has learned.
“After a thorough review of multiple proposals and a walk-through with respondents, an objective determination was made to procure their security services at City Hall,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement.
“Additionally, the Buffalo Police Department will conduct interviews and criminal background checks for any security personnel that will be assigned here,” the statement went on to read.
Those additional checks will be primarily focused on criminal history and past employment, according to a source with close knowledge of the security plans.
G4S released a statement to 7 Eyewitness News:
"Before any employee is hired at G4S, he or she must undergo an extensive background check. The background check for armed security officers includes the following:
Standard Background Criminal Records Check - 7 Years
Employment/Education Check - 7 Years
Security Office Profile
Social Security Check
Driver License Check
5-panel Drug Test
Physical Fitness Exam
"Fifteen percent of G4S US Security Officers are randomly selected for criminal background checks annually."
The source involved in the Buffalo City Hall security overhaul told 7 Eyewitness News that the FBI does not share intelligence about the people it is investigating, but said the Buffalo Police Department is able to communicate with other jurisdictions and “ask questions” if there are concerns. As part of the City’s contract with GS4, the City has the right to terminate a security guard's employment from City Hall if there are concerns.
G4S is the world's largest security company, with more than 600,000 employees worldwide.
Significant Security Changes Coming to City Hall
Beginning the week after the July 4th long weekend, anyone entering Buffalo City Hall will notice some significant changes.
At least one metal detector and security guards will be at both the front and back entrance, according to sources. People will walk through a metal detector and have their bags searched, much like at a Sabres game at First Niagara Center.
Employees will be asked to show their credentials upon entry to the building.
Metal detecting wands will be available if needed.
In addition, surveillance cameras and other electronic security measures will be getting upgraded.
According to City spokesperson Mike DeGeorge, the whole security overhaul is expected to cost about one million dollars.
City officials say these safety upgrades have been months in the making, and are not in response to the Orlando massacre.
Some City officials have concerns about the contract, like Common Council Member David Franczyk.
"This person was being looked at for possible terror connections, and he still got hired," he said. "It does bother me."
Franczyk was the only Common Council Member who voted no to the contract.
Former Buffalo FBI Special Agent In Charge Bernie Tolbert said, "I don't think we should be any more concerned about this company than any other company. Just because Omar Mateen worked for this company, doesn't't mean the company is lacking."