Investigation into KC security company prompts new task force to look further

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City will place a new, watchful eye on private security companies. The move follows a recent FOX4 Problem Solvers investigation about just who's carrying guns on the job.

Businesses like the ones in Westport employ private security companies, and when officers aren't trained or aren't in compliance with the law, it puts everyday citizens in danger.

On Monday, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners announced it will form a task force to look at private security officers.

"We commit a small task force to look at specifically private security officers, the process and the appeals and the consequences and the discipline when we have investigations and issues," said Nathan Garrett, the president of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

The announcement came three weeks after FOX4's report on Force One Security.

"When I moved to patrol, I was told not to engage in anything that way PD would not have a reason to check my commission," Kevin McNiese said.

A former Force One security officer said he and other officers were forced to carry a gun even though they were not licensed to do so.

"Your reporting frankly shed light on a more tragic scenario involving private licensing and that got my attention to be pointed about it, Garrett said. "So I met with the chief, I met with the folks in the licensing office to address it and have a conversation about it."

 

FOX4 first became aware of the issue after a deadly shooting outside of the Yum Yum Bar and Grill at 24th and Hardesty in June.

Force One security officers Markell Pinkins and Christopher Jones were working that night and shot a man sitting in his car near the bar. Jones was not licensed to carry a gun. Both men have been charged with second-degree murder. A third Force One security officer has also been charged in the incident.

Since then, several current and former Force One employees have come forward, saying they have not been trained, have poor equipment and that it's dangerous for them and the public.

 

"Many of them a re not licensed to carry a gun," former employee Ashley Tedford said.

"We have very strict guidelines, and they are in place for a reason," Tammy Gallagher said.

Gallagher is the manager of KCPD's private officer licensing unit. She's also a member of the private security task force.

FOX4 has obtained a list of Force One security officers through an open record request submitted to KCPD and found that five officers classified as armed security officers are not licensed. Two unarmed officers are also not licensed.

When we asked Force One owner Lamont Semien about this information, he replied, in part:

"The information you have gathered is inaccurate to say the least, but it is clear you insist on invading the privacy of others. I`m not at liberty to confirm or deny which of these people are employed with Force One but ALL of my armed officers are commissioned and we are in full compliance."

The newly created task force will not only look into Force One Security, but all other security companies that operate in Kansas City as well as current procedures. Commissioner Leland Shurin will head up the task force and KCPD Chief Rick Smith will also be a member and appoint whoever he thinks should fill out the ranks.

"It is easy for me to roll in and say we should do 'X,' but I don't have 30 years of institutional experience in that division," Garrett said. "So I want to temper my reaction with the institutional wisdom of the department, and so I think the best way to do that is have folks that aren't just ad hoc dealing with the issue, but instead giving it some concentrated attention, and that is the reason I did it."