The Lancashire Group, Ltd. replaced Guardsmark LLC as Mills’ outside security company on April 22 and is now on a 30-day probationary period.
In Fall 2005, Public Safety was outsourced to Guardsmark. Assistant Vice President for Business Affairs Karen Maggio said that the College felt “some of our guards were not as well trained as they should be” and that it was “time consuming to train and recruit guards, and the College would rather spend their time in other areas.”
Director of Public Safety Michael Lopez said last year that he planned to phase out Guardsmark and move to in-house Public Safety, where officers are employees of Mills.
Since then, Lopez has hired six in-house Public Safety officers. He said that the process of finding new security that meets his expectations has been slow.
“Right now, Guardsmark is not giving me the level of security I need,” he said. “There are too many gaps in our security, and we’ve come a long way in the past year.”
He said that communicating with Guardsmark is difficult, particularly on weekends when someone calls in sick, resulting in Lopez having to come in himself or pull in another officer for overtime.
TLG is a security company based in Newark, near Fremont.
According to their Web site, TLG prides itself on its small-business values of “customer-oriented and customizable services that are sensitive to the needs of [their] clients.”
Other than Mills College, their clients include Comcast and the County of Alameda.
Acting Dean of Students Kennedy Golden said that Guardsmark’s large size prevents guards from committing themselves to campus needs.
“They sort of have a huge pool, and if there’s an opening, they have to toss someone in,” she said. “With a small company, they may be more particular about who they send.”
“If we can get a regular pool of officers who understand the mission and values of the College, we all win,” Golden added.
Lopez said that he has been impressed with TLG’s willingness to give the College what they need, from weekly meetings to partnering with Mills’ training program.
“We bring the people for you guys to meet,” said TLG Chief Operating Officer Johnny Lambert. “We want to partner with Mills.”
TLG’s intention, said TLG President Ian McDonnell, is to “support and enhance” Mills’ in-house public safety in order to “protect College’s most valuable asset: the students.”
Guardsmark had no comment for the story.