PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Armed security officers in Philadelphia working under a Homeland Security Department contractor say they’re often given broken or unsafe equipment. Now, U.S. Congressmembers are joining their call for changes.
Broken zippers on pants, pockets with holes, ripped jackets and no uniforms designed for women. These are just some of the issues allegedly faced by armed security officers employed by federal contractor Triple Canopy.
“The equipment is, faulty equipment that they’ve been given us,” Dewitt Vallery said.
Vallery is a security officer with contractor Triple Canopy whose job is to protect federal buildings in Philadelphia, like the Robert Nix Building at 9th and Market Streets in Center City.
“Boots were dry-rotted from the day we got them. The first day I got my boots, I went to work and before I got home, the boots had already split on the side,” Vallery said. “We complain, but our complaints fall on deaf ears.”
Now, joining in a growing chorus of calls for changes, are U.S. Congressmembers Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle, both witnesses to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“I know how important — I know better than most — how important it is that we have proper security in our buildings,” Boyle said.
“We’re out here to send a message collectively that this is unacceptable to treat our workers,” Evans said.
“We’re going make sure that the federal government contracts with responsible companies that treat their employees correctly,” Boyle said.
In a statement, Constellis said that it “places the highest priority on quality equipment for our employees. All equipment and uniforms meet and exceed government requirements. We are taking the complaints seriously and are reviewing the incident internally.”