High Security Guard Turnover Rates Bring Detroit District to Privately Hire

High Security Guard Turnover Rates Bring Detroit District to Privately Hire

Detroit schools have been employing security through contracted security companies for nearly ten years. With such high turnover rates, they’ve decided to return to private employment for security guards.

When the Detroit Public Schools Community District was using Securitas, a privately contracted security company, to employ security guards, they had a 57 percent turnover rate. This created a “revolving door” effect in which schools weren’t able to retain security guards, and the guards and the students didn’t have the opportunity to have a relationship.

The Detroit School Board has decided to move away from Securitas as their guard provider, and to let the district take on the responsibility of hiring and managing full-time security guards. This will be the first time in nearly a decade that the district will have this power.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the plan should change school culture.

“It’s not about judging people individually, it’s looking at a holistic strategy or approach about how you provide security,” Vitti said.

The full-time employees will receive a higher payment than the Securitas guards at $3 more an hour, and they will receive benefits. This will be implemented in hope that the retention rate will be higher.

Principals will be responsible for hiring and managing the security guards, which will Vitti said will give them ownership over their schools. The guards will not be armed or authorized to make arrests.

This plan was tested at 12 schools last year, and since it was a success, they will implement the plan district-wide. Vitti said he hopes this plan will reduce the turnover rate, which was more than half with Securitas.

“We believe that this will reduce the turnover rate,” Vitti said. “In fact, we found that once we filled the positions for the full-time security guards, we had a zero-turnover rate.”

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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