Federal Eye: Uncertified Guards Protected FDA Headquarters

At least 58 private contract security guards with improper credentials were reassigned from the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Rockville this month after an inspection by the Federal Protective Service, according to two FPS officers familiar with the incident.

The contractor, Chenega Integrated Services Inc., was also fined about $163,000 and ordered to review its security operations at the FDA’s Rockville campus, according to FPS spokesman Carl Rusnok. The surprise inspection was part of a routine audit of security contractors, Rusnok said.

Discrepancies with the guard certifications originated with the FPS itself, however. An employee issued a blanket waiver to Chenega guards, the two officers familiar with the situation said. Some of the officers, however, had not completed FPS training, which the FPS employee’s actions inadvertently brought to light, the two officers said. One of the officers is also a union official representing FPS guards. The two requested anonymity to avoid retribution.

More than two-thirds of the guards have since received training, a Chenega spokesman said, who confirmed that the incident occurred. The remaining guards have been pulled from duty until they are fully trained, the spokesman said. He declined to comment further.

Approximately 6,000 people work at the FDA facility on New Hampshire Avenue near two major shopping plazas and the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Capital Beltway. An FDA spokesman referred all questions to FPS, which handles security at the facility.

During the July 16 inspection of security at FDA headquarters, FPS inspectors identified several paperwork issues for guards at the site, according to Rusnok. Private security guards working for FPS require several certifications, including for CPR, first aid, and to carry a firearm. It is unclear which premature certifications the guards received.

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Jameson Z.

What is sad is the way these guards treat the FDAers. They grab at the employee badges, confiscate forks, require plants to go through x-ray machines, and inspect lunch boxes. The Murrow building in Oklahoma was not brought down by a Federal employee or a fork for that matter. The guards are in place to protect, not inspect, the employees there. One wonders what they will do to the industry representatives when they come for meetings.
The guards at FDA disrespect the employees all the time. It’s a common occurrence to see someone lose their temper because of the daily harassment imposed by the guards. I’m not surprised at all that many have had no training. It shows in the way they do their job. There are some very good guards but unfortunately there are many who use their job to harass and intimidate. I just hope that they will be able to resolve the conflict. They should train the guards so that the employee will be protected rather than disrespected even if it means using payday loans for there guards to have a training. So that they will be able to do there job properly.