Two instances of employee misconduct in 2007 and 2008 resulted in fines

Image by (Leticia Luna/The Citizen)

May 5, 2021

Story updated on May 6, 2021 to include quote from Jason Russell, Founder/President of Secure Education Consultants

By David Rowe, Associate Editor

Prior to establishing Community Ready Corps (CRC), the community-based security firm awarded a $2.1 million contract by the Peralta Board of Trustees last December, Earl Harper and Carroll Fife, currently a member of the Oakland City Council, operated another Oakland-based security company called Urban Shield Security Services. In 2008, Urban Shield Security Services received two citations and fines from the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) due to misconduct by its employees.

Urban Shield Security Services, Harper’s security company, was not related to the  controversial annual Urban Shield police training exercise created by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern. That event ended in 2019 when its funding was cut off by the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative

Harper was listed as CEO of Urban Shield Security Services in state filings from 2004 to 2008. While Fife was listed as the “secretary” of Urban Shield Security Services in 2008 on a statement of information document filed with the California Secretary of State on July 24, 2008, she was not included as one of the company’s licensees on the BSIS citation and fine assessment documents, also from 2008.

Questions have been raised as to whether CRC holds the necessary license to provide security services on the Peralta campuses. This has delayed their engagement while A1 Protective Services and Marina Security Services, the two security firms who currently hold Private Patrol Operator (PPO) licenses, have deployed unarmed security personnel at the four Peralta colleges and administrative offices since January 1. 

Urban Shield Security Services was granted a PPO license by the BSIS in August 2005, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) search engine. The DCA site also indicates, however, that Urban Shield was the subject of two disciplinary actions initiated in August and September 2008. In both cases, citations and fines were issued by the BSIS. Urban Shield Security Services’ PPO license expired in August 2009. 

The Citizen was able to obtain copies of those citations, which provide more detail on the nature of the allegations. 

The first incident took place on December 21, 2007. Jacob Rooney said he “accidentally” broke a bottle in an unidentified club. While attempting to deposit the broken bottle in the trash, Rooney claimed that an Urban Shield Security Services security guard “tasered him in the stomach while other security guards threw him on to the ground and handcuffed him,” according to the BSIS citation. Urban Shield Security Services was fined $525 for this violation. 

The second incident occurred six months later on June 22, 2008 at the Kaenyama Sushi restaurant in Fremont. According to the BSIS Citation, “Fremont police responded to a disturbance” at the restaurant and “several individuals who were involved in the incident were detained and interviewed.” Two of the detained individuals were employees of Urban Shield Security Services. One was “suspected of firing a single gunshot” during the disturbance while the other “cover(ed) the doors and restrooms.”  The BSIS investigation determined that “there was no record of a security guard registration or firearms permit issued” to either employee.

Urban Shield Security Services was cited for employing “individuals as security guards without certifying proof of current and valid registration” as required by state law.  A much higher fine of $5,000 was levied for this violation. 

In order to determine the severity of these violations, The Citizen reached out to two security consultants: Paul Llanez, the President and CEO of Knowledge Saves Lives (KSL) in Merced and Jason Russell, Founder/President of Secure Education Consultants in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In an email to The Citizen, Lanez revealed that “while conducting services for the Peralta Community College District we became aware of the citations from BSIS as well as the concerning PPO registration information.”  Since KSL is “currently in the process of sharing our initial assessment with the district,” Llanez said he was not able to provide any further comments at this time. After a “cursory review” of the complaints, Russell said he believes they are “severe.”  In an email to The Citizen, he said the violations represent “a lack of attention to detail in my opinion or carelessness on the part of the company. I am surprised the college isn’t concerned with these previous violations.”

When The Citizen reached out to Carroll Fife’s office for comment, her spokesperson, Rediat Bayeh, sent the following statement via email: “The Councilmember is excited to speak with you regarding the things she is working on now as well as her time as an elected official. However, she is disappointed at attempts to discredit her character rather than focus on the issues important to Oakland residents.”  

Bayeh also characterized previous coverage of Councilwoman Fife in The Citizen as “erroneous, inflammatory, and disrespectful.” Bayeh did not expand on her claims.

The Citizen also reached out to Earl Harper via phone and email but was unable to reach him.