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El Paso Police ask to outsource suspect transport, booking

El Paso Police Department officials will ask city councilors sign off on a $600,000 contract with G4S, aprivate company, to help transport and book suspects and keep police on the street longer.

The pilot program would begin October 1, 2012 at the Pebble Hills regional command, and if found to be effective, expand to the Mission Valley command by February 2013. If the program is successful, an EPPD spokesman said they’ll likely adoptthe practice city-wide.

If approved, El Paso Police officials said G4S will provide highly trained and vetted guards to assist the department with the entire booking process.

Currently, an officer who makes an arrest must process, transport and book the suspect into the El Paso County Detention Facility (jail). G4S’s personnel, if approved, will assume the responsibility of processing (i.e. fingerprinting), transporting and booking suspects into the jail. Also, if for any reason the suspect needs a medical release before booking, G4S will take him or her to a hospital for the release and then onto the jail.

El Paso Assistant Chief of Police Michelle Gardnersaid G4S has a similar arrangement with the federal government, and according to the G4S website, the company is, “a leading provider of integrated security solutions in the United States.”

An EPPD spokesman saidofficers are paid an average of $25.83 per hour and G4S employees are paid $21.58 per hour. The savings equate to $4.25 hourly, and $8.54 per hour for overtime pay.

With the booking process running anywhere from two to four hours, Gardner said the savings are twofold, “We’re getting more of a return for our dollar and getting an officer out on the street. I don’t think if the public had a choice, (they) would want an officer waiting at the jail when they could be patrolling.”

The item will be discussed and open for public comment at the Tuesday, Aug. 14 city council meeting.

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