The Houston Board of Aldermen voted 3-2 last week not to hire Terrance Ford and Str8 (straight) to provide security at city events. Ford had approached the board in July seeking a contract with the city to provide security guards for crowd control at community events.
The motion to hire Str8 was made by Ward 1 Alderman Shenia Jones and seconded by Ward 4 Alderman Willie Mae McKinney. Ward 1 Aldermen Tony Uhiren, Ward 3 Alderman Frank Thomas and Alderman at Large Barry Springer voted against the motion.
Ford and Str8 security showed up in yellow shirts at Houston Homecoming in July to assist with the community event without the permission of the city. Ford approached the board the following week offering to provide security for ballgames, Flywheel Festival, Christmas parade and other city functions.
Ford had pointed out that hiring a new policeman would cost Houston $30,000 in salary alone.
Ford said his security team would work events on a contract basis for $1,500 a month. Ford said he currently has five employees and he and one other employee are licensed to carry a weapon.
Aldermen were concerned that Ford did not have liability insurance and Ford returned in August saying he had insurance and gave a more detailed explanation of his services and a reduced price.
The city tabled a vote until last week’s meeting.
“A lot of cities are doing this and it’s just added security,” said Jones in offering her motion. “It’s a new business for our community and I think it would create jobs.”
Houston Police Chief Billy Voyles was specifically asked if this service was needed by the city.
“We’ve been doing it for years,” said Voyles. “I’m at the Flywheel festival, the parade and other events. We also have EMTs and the fire department at some of these events.”
It was also pointed out Str8 had no arrest authority and could not carry people to jail.
“I think if we have police, fire and EMTs at city events we don’t need to pay for more,” said Uhiren. “If the sponsors of the event want more security, they are welcome to hire them.”
Mayor Stacey Parker told Ford there might be a way for Str8 to work events at the Houston Civic Center when it is rented by an individual.
The city has recently struggled with rowdy parties at the Civic Center where there were security concerns. Police were called to these weekend events and broke up the gathering.