ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — There’s a new change coming to the downtown Roseville business corridor. Gun-toting guards will begin patrolling the streets, and they’ve been hired by the police department.
The dramatic move by a city where crime is relatively low is raising some eyebrows.READ MORE: Deadly Hit-And-Run Crash Has El Camino Avenue Overpass Closed; Business 80 Open
“Really, it’s just an enhancement to our downtown corridor. It’s putting one more body downtown to help with the quality of life-type crime,” Roseville police spokesperson Rob Baquera said.
The city of Roseville entered into a new contract with First Security Services, which will be managed by the police department. The contract puts one armed security guard on patrol, keeping an eye on businesses and customers downtown.
“It definitely gives a little extra peace of mind for down here. I’ve never really had a bad experience,” Blaine Peterson, manager at the Monk’s Cellar, said.
Peterson doesn’t mind the security because they’ll also be watching parking.
“It will help having a security force handing out tickets, chalking tires and getting these parking spots freed up,” he said.READ MORE: Candlelight Vigil Planned Thursday Evening For Fallen Elk Grove Officer
The uniformed armed guards will work with police and have the ability to detain individuals, but Baquera said: “they do not have the same arrest powers that police officers do.”
The city of Roseville says the contract was needed because regular beat patrol cops aren’t always downtown.
“So they just move around more as a constant presence, more eyes and ears dealing with issues, reporting problems. The things that a patrol officer who comes here every now and then wouldn’t catch necessarily,“ Roseville City Council member Scott Alvord said.
The city says the idea is more cost-effective than hiring more officers. They spend $255,000 per year officer including benefits, training, and equipment. They’ll pay $155,000 for the new security program in total.
Alvord said the money is coming from the general fund like all other public safety costs. “I think we have a big cost savings,” Alvord said.
Part of the cost was included in the police budget and business owners paid into the contract as well.MORE NEWS: Sacramento’s Solid Waste Fees Going Up Due To New State Composting Mandate
Roseville police will still continue to respond and handle violent crime.