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Council amends contract with Ontel Security for park patrols
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The Ceres City Council amended its agreement with Ontel Security Services, Inc. which provides private security for facility rentals and the patrolling of city parks.

The amendment slightly increases the cost of the contract so that Ontel can raise its minimum wage given that there was an increase to the state minimum wage on Jan. 1.

The new contract goes until June 30, 2021.

Ontel Security Services has been providing private security services for the city since May 2009 and patrols Smyrna, River Bluff Regional, Roeding Heights, Whitmore, Strawberry Fields and Sam Ryno parks. The firm also provides private security for the many events held at the Ceres Community Center and the Ceres American Legion Hall Memorial Building. The city contract allows for Ontel security guards to carry firearms.

A minimum of two guards are posted at private rentals where alcohol is served and can be up to four or five depending on the size and type of event. Generally there is only one Ontel guard patrolling all the Ceres parks in the evenings.

Ceres resident Gene Yeakley asked about lack of security at public events and recreation events. City Manager Tom Westbrook said that security is not generally required during classes or other public events. Yeakley expressed fears that “with the way the world’s twisted” that a lack of security leaves participants vulnerable. Recreation Manager Matthew Lohr said most cities don’t provide security for public classes at their centers. Westbrook commented that security for regular programs would mean an increase in program costs.