How secure are things at busy South Florida federal facility?

Security guard says surveillance cameras haven't worked for 3 years

MIAMI – Security guards are questioning just how secure things really are at a busy South Florida federal facility.

"They're the eyes and ears," one of them told Local 10 News' Leave it to Layron team, referring to the security cameras inside and outside of the building. The guard asked to remain anonymous.

He said he is a member of the United Government Security Officers Local 270, the union which represents more than 200 security guards standing watch at federal facilities across South Florida, including the Claude Pepper Federal Building in downtown Miami.

The guard we spoke with said the surveillance equipment at Claude Pepper was upgraded in 2015 and worked for about a year.

"Half broke, and the rest failed," he said. "There's not going to be a person everywhere. You need to see activity, movement. It helps out." 

You can't just walk into the Claude Pepper facility. Guards meet you at the entrance. The public passes through metal detectors and are screened as if they're going through an airport security checkpoint.

The guards are also armed.

"So, the danger is going to be where you need to be somewhere that you're not -- where you should have [been] because you didn't see it," the guard said. 

He said the equipment should have been replaced or repaired the day it broke. We're told it hasn't worked properly in three years.

The LITL team tried confirming what caused the equipment to fail in the first place and what, if anything, is being done to get the cameras working properly.

A representative with the Federal Protective Service responded, sending the following statement:

"For the safety and security of tenants and visitors, the Federal Protective Service does not discuss the security measures and countermeasures in place or the tactics and techniques used in their employment at Federal facilities. As such, FPS follows the standards established by the Interagency Security Committee for the various security and countermeasure aspects of a Federal facility.  

The tenants and visitors of the Claude Pepper Federal Office Building are being safeguarded through integrated security and law enforcement services and systems, and the protection of life and safety at this, and all FPS protected facilities nationwide, is the top priority for our organizations."  

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.