Police secure airport while city looks for new contractor

Manager expects to dip into reserve funds to pay for officers' work

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2007

Police officers have taken over as security guards at Juneau International Airport while the city looks for a new contractor.

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Using police for airport security is estimated to cost the city two and a half times as much as what the airport paid its former contractor, Night Watch Security.

Night Watch ran low on employees and canceled its month-to-month contract to provide the required security, Dave Palmer, airport manager, said.

"They had employee problems," Palmer said. "It wasn't a big contract issue."

Replacing Nightwatch with uniformed police puts a drain on the airport budget. Officers mostly work the airport shifts on voluntary paid overtime, Cindee Brown-Mills, Juneau police spokeswoman, said.

"Even straight time would be twice what we paid Nightwatch," Palmer said. "It's going to have a big impact on the budget."

Palmer said the actual cost was not yet known, but he expected the airport to dip into a reserve fund to cover the additional expense.

Night Watch General Manager Jim Brogdon was not available for comment Thursday.

Palmer said a call for bids to replace Nightwatch brought one viable company, Goldbelt Corp. The airport expects to begin a conversation with the urban Native corporation this week. Palmer said Goldbelt could begin staffing airport security by the first of the year.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-258 or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.

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