Armed guards proposed for city hall

Two armed guards would patrol Evanston's Civic Center under a proposed contract scheduled for approval by the City Council tonight.

In a memo to aldermen, Assistant City Manager Erika Storlie justified the more than $113,000 annual cost of the guards by saying they are needed to ensure the safety of workers and visitors at the Civic Center.

Storlie has not responded to an email from Evanston Now Friday morning asking for details of what incident or incidents may have prompted the proposal to hire the armed guards, They would work staggered shifts to cover the period from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Currently Evanston police officers are stationed at the Civic Center during some public meetings and at certain other times.

Evanston Now also asked whether hiring the guards would reduce the need to have police officers in the building.

Storlie's memo indicated that having a police officer in the building costs $40 to $50 an hour, while the armed guards would cost $29.50 per hour,

Stolie recommends that the contract be awarded to Phoenix Security, a Skokie-based busines run by retired Evanston police officer Leon Mitchell, which has long provided security at District 65 schools.

She recommends rejecting a competing proposal from Chicago-based Titan Security which called for hiring unarmed guards at a cost of $15 an hour.

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