Metro Water Issues New Security Badges - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Water Issues New Security Badges

John P. Kennedy John P. Kennedy
Marc Shapiro Marc Shapiro

NASHIVLLE, Tenn. - Metro is taking steps to make sure the drinking water is safe.

This comes after a NewsChannel 5 exclusive report that revealed a former Wackenhut security guard at Metro Water Services still had his ID and security keys.

This means more trouble for Wackenhut, the security company contracted by Metro.

Thieves hit the Davidson County Election Commission stole computers under Wackenhut's watch. There is also the possibility of a security breach threatening all Metro offices.

Officials at Metro Water Services said Thursday they created new security ID badges for Wackenhut guards.

This is a day after NewsChannel 5 aired a story highlighting a possible security breach.

"With the appearance of the badge on TV, we felt that it was important to change out the badges so that by the end of the day every guard would have a new badge," said John P. Kennedy of Metro Water Services.

This comes after John Kennedy, a former security guard, said he still had his uniform, security ID and key to the locks on security fences.

"Nobody's ever contacted me about returning their uniforms," said Kennedy, who helped guard Nashville's drinking water supply.

How many other former guards have sensitive IDs or keys?

Wackenhut Senior Vice president Marc Shapiro admits it's a problem.

"It is something clearly we take seriously," he said in a telephone interview. "We looked into it.  We had our team explore it. It's not something we want to gloss over and say it didn't happen or shouldn't have happened."

Admitting to the problem is not enough for critics of Wackenhut.

Metro Councilman Michael Craddock is concerned about the unaccounted for uniforms and IDs.

He said an imposter could blend in with real guards.

"They're in every Metro building and all wear the same uniforms," Craddock said about Wackenhut security guards.

Metro Water Services is moving to close any security gap. It's likely most other departments will soon do the same.

"I'm certain others are aware," said Kennedy of the Metro Water Services.  "And it would really surprise me if every other department isn't learning from our experience?"

Metro's contract with Wackenhut runs through 2012.

Shapiro said it is the company's responsibility to return all Metro property. He said they tried to contact Kennedy to recover the uniform and ID, but couldn't find him.

He said Wackenhut had his number and address, but never contacted him.

The former employee has arranged to return the ID and gate key to Metro Water Services.

But are there others out there and will they do the same?

Metro Water officials said they will meet with Wackenhut staff next week.

Metro plans to spell out exactly what is expected of the company to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

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