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Stalwart Donating Member (180 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-21-08 02:02 PM
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Armed Guard at Social Security Office
There is a uniformed armed civilian guard at the entrance of the Social Security office in my town of 75,000 population.

He handed me a customer number when I walked in. The entrance area is the waiting room, the size of a large living room. He stood looking at us. Some of the few in the waiting area looked at him. Others studiously avoided his gaze. Nothing to read But SS pubs. I sat looking at him and thinking about the situation.

What was he there for? One answer is that it was his job. It was his job because Paragon had a $20 million contract with the federal government to provide security services for the state of Oregon: Under the contract they "deploy" over 100 gauards to federal SS offices throughout the state for $4 million per year for 5 years:

Paragon was given a contract because Homeland Security requires a security review for federal offices and appropriate security measures based on size, volume of business and other factors may dictate that an armed guard is required:

The local paper advertised for the security guard job in October 2007 at a rate of $16 to $18 per hour.

The post office is a federal agency as is the SS office. It does far more business and by federal standards is apparently in a higher security category than the local SS office. There is no guard at the post office. Not that I think one there is any more necessary than one at the SS office.

What do we have to fear in our small town that requires a guard at the small SS office here? Armed and with a badge no less, which implies some authority to use deadly force. At least the uniform is blue, not black nor is the contractor Blackwater but it might have been if they submitted a lower bid.

Oregon is one of the states that has some reluctance regarding Real ID. I wonder if a guard at a place like the SS office is just an ominous warning of federal laws to be enforced with force at the door if the state does not comply with Real ID regulations. Otherwise a guard at the SS office might simply be the failure to apply security criteria correctly. Maybe the federal gov't just wants its citizens to become used to armed federal presence by, in effect, turning up the temperature of the water a degree at a time. Maybe it is just to intimidate immigrants.

Really, what do we have to fear in a small town that requires an armed guard under contract to the federal government stand at the entrance to a small Social Security office and oversee the waiting area? What is the real reason he is there?

We left the SS office to go to the DMV to replace a lost license. Another place that deals in ID. Far bigger, more people. State office, of course, but no guard there. Yet. No guard at the local post office. Yet.

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Frustratedlady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-21-08 02:05 PM
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1. We had the same thing after 911, but I haven't looked lately.
Your tax dollars at work.
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Old Codger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-21-08 02:30 PM
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2. yes indeed
Been that way at most of them for a long time now, at least the last 10 years or so.
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-21-08 02:57 PM
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3. Same here in Iowa. Big burly guy overlooking a small SS office waiting room with four little old
white-haired people in it. I don't know who looked more uncomfortable.
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fed-up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-21-08 05:01 PM
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4. there's one in Chico, CA (northern CA office)-but decisions aren't made there...nt
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