The D.C. police department issued licenses to several school security guards with criminal records, according to a report by the city's inspector general's office.
Some guards cleared to work in the schools had arrest records for such crimes as possession of cocaine, assault and delivering counterfeit money. The report was particularly critical of the police department, which licenses guards who are then hired by a private security contractor with the school system.
The report from Inspector General Austin A. Andersen's office said that some guards might not have been permitted to work in the schools if their criminal backgrounds were "sufficiently reviewed." It said that some people got jobs "who may pose a risk to the secure environment of students and staff."
The report was based on random checks of guards employed by the school system's former contractor, Watkins Security Agency. Another company, Hawk One Security Inc., recently took over the security duties. Hawk One is requiring any Watkins employees who want to remain on the job to reapply.
Assistant Police Chief Gerald M. Wilson, who oversees school security, said more extensive background checks and training are being done. He said 13 guards were released because of criminal activity.
The inspector general randomly conducted background checks on 30 of 400 school security guards. Although some were not prosecuted, eight of the 30 had criminal histories. The findings were reported yesterday by the Washington Times.
Staff writer V. Dion Haynes contributed to this report.