Downtown security called 3-month trial

DOWNEY - In anticipation of increased downtown holiday traffic, the city has all but sewn up a deal with RMI International to provide extra security especially against car thefts and/or vandalism in the downtown parking structure next to the Krikorian Theatre and other public parking areas.Only a few details remain to be formally threshed out. The deal was scheduled to be rolled out as early as Dec. 1. Car thefts and breaking into cars have historically been the bane of the downtown area, and with more shoppers and visitors sure to be drawn to the new attractions available downtown, city officials want to make sure their experience will be a "safe and positive" one. Towards this end, community development director Brian Saeki, who has been the point man in the negotiations with RMI International, said, "We want to be more proactive than reactive in this in view of the current positive business trend in the area." The core area roughly covers the grid bordered by Firestone Boulevard to Brookshire Avenue to the east, Fifth Street to the north, and Paramount Boulevard to the west, but adjoining areas are also considered "downtown." The basic structure of the deal, though, is simple: two uniformed RMI security personnel will be riding on bicycles, equipped with monitoring technology which will be linked to the police department and city staff, and will patrol the area at "peak strategic times." Saeki said the Paramount-based security firm RMI, which operates in 18 states and 20 countries and is headed by former Downey Chamber of Commerce president Rick Rodriguez, outbid two other parking security firms: Parking Company of America and Parking Concepts in informal bidding. RMI's bid of $16/hour beat PC's bid of $17.50/hour and PCA's bid of $18/hour. Saeki corrected the previously announced contract period of one year to three months (or possibly six months) but for the same $9,600 dollar figure. "We originally thought the amount would be sufficient, but we soon realized that it wasn't, that it wasn't going to be impactful enough [for our purposes]. Hence we view this deal as a trial test, aware that we're going to stretch our dollars. If the program proves effective, we'll bring back a larger contract to the City Council for consideration." "The Gateway Development and 12 new restaurants alone will be opening between now and summer next year, with La Barca restaurant due to open in January," commented Councilman Mario Guerra. "Porto's and other restaurants have expressed their appreciation for the planned enhanced security program downtown."

********** Published: December 1, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 33