CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The N.C. Department of Public Safety hired a security company to provide armed guards at prisons around the state despite a history of past disciplinary actions, state records show.
WBTV first reported last month that DPS had contracted with P and G Security Guard of Salisbury to provide armed guards at three prisons, with the possibility of adding guards at additional facilities.
The initial contract is for $1.4 million.
The North Carolina General Assembly has approved a bill that would allow DPS to contract for more armed security guards for up to two more years.
Records from the North Carolina Private Protective Services Board show Jeff Kiker, the owner of P and G Security Guard was disciplined in 2017 for multiple violations.
According to the records, Kiker was barred from supervising private investigator associates for a year starting in October 2017. And in a separate disciplinary action that was approved by the PPSB at the same time, he was ordered to pay a total of $11,424 in consent violations and civil penalties for arming his security guards with automatic rifles without first giving them proper training.
The board also issued a cease and desist order against Kiker and his company to prevent his guards from carrying any weapons until they could be properly trained.
A DPS spokesman said the agency was not aware of the disciplinary action when asked for comment for this story, despite PPSB being a DPS agency.
Even so, the spokesman said, the action would not have prevented Kiker and his company—the only bidders for this contract—from getting the job.
“P&G Security holds a current security guard and patrol license today,” spokesman Jerry Higgins said.
“The company has no record of violations or Board-imposed discipline since 2017. As a company properly licensed and in good standing, P&G Security is eligible to conduct the contracted services.”
Kiker issued a statement in response to a request for comment for this story.
“Kiker Investigations has been in business since 1998 and is a complete separate company from P&G Security, however the issue was we were unable to locate training records for one (1) employee that was found at a later date and have made changes so that it never happens again and accepted the ruling from our governing agency and learned a better way of tracking our records,” Kiker said of the disciplinary action taken by PPSB for his failure to properly supervise private investigators who worked for him.
But notes created as part of the PPSB investigation and obtained by WBTV through a public records request show Kiker didn’t create the training records at all, contrary to his claim in the statement.
“On March 20, 2017, at approximately 12:38 pm, I spoke with Jeff Kiker. Kiker stated that he has no logs,” the investigative report said.
The report later said that Kiker calculated the time his associate worked by reviewing case files.
Regarding the use of automatic assault rifles without proper training, Kiker said the issue stemmed from a client requesting the use of those weapons before a training standard was in place.
“The issue stemmed from a client requesting we provide long guns due to force protection needs prior to PPSB governing long gun training by using military and law enforcement training standards which exceeded the current PPSB training requirements,” Kiker said.
“Once PPSB developed the course and our trainers were trained by PPSB we continued to carry long guns until we were issued the training materials by PPSB which we learned was a violation according to PPSB. All long guns were pulled from the post and all officers were trained according to those requirements and we placed long guns back on the post.”
But the investigative file provided by PPSB shows Kiker armed guards with automatic rifles on at least two different jobs: one at a multi-day event at a church in Charlotte and the other at the DPS Joint Force Headquarters building in Raleigh.
The investigative notes also show training standards were developed for security guards to carry rifles in February 2016 but Kiker still had not trained is employees through October 2017, including those who worked at the DPS facility.
“We regret that situation ever took place, but P&G is committed to providing quality armed security officers that work within the rules established. It is our quality of work and dedication to our clients over the past 47 years that made us viable candidates for the Department of Safety contracts. That miscalculation to meet the need of our client that led to a fine, we take full ownership of it, but it does not say who we are as a company and the quality of work and personnel that we have in our organization,” Kiker’s statement said.
The PPSB records show Kiker was also fined in 2000 and faced a PPSB investigation in 2007, too.