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City changing security firm patrolling parks
Alpine security
Alpine Protective Solutions has been hired to patrol a list of Ceres parks, including Smyrna Park here.

The city is dumping Ontel Security firm in favor of Alpine Protective Solutions to patrol eight city parks.

According to Public Works Director Sam Royal, the city has decided to terminate its 14-year relationship with Ontel because of contract rate increases, repeated incidents and staffing behavioral issues,.

The city ended the Ontel contract as of Dec. 15.

While the city of Ceres has a total of 14 regional, community, and neighborhood city parks, a number of them have public facilities that require daily monitoring after hours. Ontel had been patrolling Smyrna Park, River Bluff Regional Park (upper and lower bluff), Roeding Heights Park, Whitmore Park, Strawberry Fields Park and Neel Park. In the switch to Alpine the city is including Sam Ryno and Independence parks for patrols.

Independence Park has increasingly attracted transients due to its close proximity to the Hatch Road commercial corridor.

After adding the two parks, Alpine will be working to secure the parks through Feb. 1, 2026 at a cost of $5,280 per month, or $63,360 per year.

Hiring private security to keep tabs on the parks is more cost effective than hiring sworn police officers and also allows Ceres Police to focus on other duties.