Garden Grove approves $1.8M contract outsourcing jail security service to G4S

Garden Grove is switching its jail security services from one private company to another.

On Tuesday night, the City Council approved a $1,815,556.69 three-year contract with G4S Secure Solutions USA, Inc., a large private security firm with offices in more than a hundred countries and a controversial past uncovered in a 2019 news investigation.

Starting in June 2000, the city had contracted GEO Group, Inc. to provide 24-hour jail booking services for the police department. Although the council renewed a three-year contract with that company in 2019, the police department received notice that GEO is ending jail operations in California and will terminate the contract on Nov. 1.

GEO is a private prison firm that owns and operates two ICE facilities, three prisons and two detention facilities in California. This year the state planned to end two contracts with GEO for two prisons after Assembly Bill 32, a law barring renewal of contracts with private prisons, went into effect on Jan. 1.

Lt. Brian Dalton of the Garden Grove Police Department said Tuesday, “On average it takes police officers approximately two hours to handle a prisoner through the entire booking process. Using the GEO contract services, this processing time has been reduced to approximately 15 minutes, allowing police officers to return to the field more quickly.”

Dalton also said over recent years the amount of crime has increased along with arrests made by the police department. In 2019, officers made 7,575 arrests for felony and misdemeanor crimes compared to 5,619 arrests in 2014.

Garden Grove city staff recommended “piggybacking” on the existing jail services contract between Westminster and G4S approved in March 2020.

G4S offered to hire the 10 current GEO employees working in Garden Grove’s jail located in the police department building at 11301 Acacia Parkway.

The 10 custody workers would have to pass an updated preemployment screening. According to a service document compiled by G4S, the screening includes identity verification through Social Security, a variety of criminal searches, a review of seven years of employment, unemployment or education, a driver’s license check, drug screening, a physical exam and a psychological evaluation. G4S is also responsible for annual training.

G4S activities include security for concerts, shopping malls, banks, prisons and healthcare facilities. The company’s career page shows about 17 jobs — mostly security, detention or custody officers — available across Orange County.

According to a G4S spokesperson, the company provides jail support services to 15 Southern California police departments throughout Los Angeles San Bernardino and Orange counties including local cities Irvine, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, Westminster and Costa Mesa.

“Our longest local partnership dates back to 1992 with the city of Irvine and the Irvine Police Department. G4S is proud to partner and support these communities with qualified security officers so local police forces can focus on public safety,” stated the G4S spokesperson through email.

USA Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigated the security company and published a report in late 2019 that found a pattern

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Garden Grove, California, Goes Live with CentralSquare Finance Enterprise Software – Press Release

Lake Mary, Fla., Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CentralSquare Technologies, an industry leader in public sector software, announced today that the City of Garden Grove, California, has successfully gone live with CentralSquare Finance Enterprise software. The two-phase technology upgrade will replace the City’s 40-year-old legacy system with a modern software suite to enhance operational efficiency, facilitate transparency, enhance internal controls and integrate administrative business functions.

“To replace our decades-old system, we needed a solid ERP system with strong reporting and control structures alongside a foundational chart of accounts to serve as the backbone of our entire finance system,” said Finance Director Patricia Song. “The configurable platform in CentralSquare supports more than data analytics, cost tracking, budgeting and other capabilities; it’s helping us to transform our operations because we can apply best practices for strategically enhancing efficiencies across our organization.”

With the new system, Garden Grove gains a centralized financial management software suite that combines finance, human resources and payroll into one fully integrated suite upon completion of the second phase of implementation. By offering one point of data entry for all information, the system reduces the need for redundant data processes. In one example, the city is realizing an immediate efficiency upon completion of its first phase of implementation: centralized invoice processing. Previously, invoices might bypass the Finance Department altogether if routed directly to a department or employee outside of Finance. Employees who received the invoices would manually review and code the invoices before sending to Finance, bypassing the ability to ensure compliance with budget and purchasing requirements and limiting visibility into the overall spending status.

“The new system really pushes us as an organization to transform our processes,” added Song. “Now, invoices can be applied to purchase orders without our team having to find the relevant information from user departments. Not only does this save time and reduce stress, it helps us to solve a reporting deficiency identified in previous audits.

“In terms of updating our internal control processes, we’re benefiting in three distinct areas: system configuration allows us to design and set up security protocols for ensuring checks and balances; automation removes any manual manipulation, preventing fraudulent activity; and login reports detect user access. Compared to before, management has greater confidence because we’re making sure transactions are monitored and fraudulent activities are prevented.

“From a workflow perspective, the automation has given us another immediate improvement. Approvers get an automated email, and they can simply reply with ‘Y’ or ‘yes’ to approve the transaction or ‘N’ or ‘no’ to reject. This is significant because our approvers often are away from their desks. The capability of reviewing and approving the transactions by a mobile device improves efficiency and ultimately enables us to better serve our community.”

The fifth largest city in Orange County, Garden Grove’s Finance Department consistently receives high marks for fostering a culture of accountability. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the city for its

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Garden Grove Unified reverses plan to reopen schools for in-person instruction

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) — Garden Grove Unified School District has reversed its plan for reopening schools.

According to the Orange County Register, the county’s third-largest school district announced Wednesday that it’s no longer planning to return to in-class learning in October.

The district says more parents than expected want to continue with distance learning, and school officials needs more time for planning and to obtain additional technology for students.

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The district, which includes about 41,000 students, initially planned to reopen elementary schools on Oct. 5 and middle and high schools on Oct. 12. Most campuses planned a hybrid with some in-person learning and some online instruction due to physical distancing requirements.

It is unclear when the district will reopen campuses.

In the meantime, the district says it’s working to expand its on-site supervision programs to help parents.

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Garden Grove Uber Driver Arrested In Passenger Sexual Assault

GARDEN GROVE, CA — An Uber driver suspected of sexually assaulting a 51-year-old woman in Santa Ana was behind bars Thursday.

The woman called the ride-sharing service about 4 a.m. Wednesday to get to work, police said. Uber driver Jason Rodas, 51, of Garden Grove, responded to the call, but after picking her up and while en route to her destination he told the woman he would “do it for no charge,” police said.

Rodas asked the woman “several questions about her sex life,” which frightened the woman, police said.

When she demanded he just take her to work, he threatened to throw her out of the car if she called police, according to police.

Rodas eventually drove the woman to 300 S. Minnie St., where the victim “bailed out of the car and tried to run away.” The suspect caught her and choked her before sexually assaulting her, police alleged.

Evidence at the scene led Santa Ana Police Detectives to Roadas’s home. Officers served a search warrant at his residence to recover additional evidence. Rodas was arrested hours after the attack, and booked at the Santa Ana Jail for several sexual assault charges including kidnapping with the intent to commit rape. His bail was set at $1,000,000.00.

Investigators asked the public to call if they had any other relevant information about Rodas. The public was asked to call Detective Julio Gallardo at 714-245-8378 or email [email protected] Orange County Crime Stoppers will accept anonymous tips at 855-TIP-OCCS.

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