Private Guards a Weak Link in Security

Tuesday May 29, 2007 5:01 PM

AP Photo WXSC315, WXSC308
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Legions of ill-trained, low-paid private security guards are protecting tempting terrorist targets across the U.S.

Richard Bergendahl is one of them. He fights the war on terrorism in Los Angeles, protecting a high-rise office building for $19,000 a year. Down the block is an even taller skyscraper, identified by President Bush as a building chosen for a Sept. 11-style airplane attack.

Bergendahl, 55, says he often thinks: ``Well, what am I doing here? These people are paying me minimum wage.''

The security guard industry found itself involuntarily transformed after September 2001 from an army of ``rent-a-cops'' to protectors of the homeland. Yet many security officers are paid little more than restaurant cooks or janitors. [...]

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