After an embarrassing string of high-profile illegal entries, officials Wednesday afternoon announced a plan to beef up security at the site of the World Trade Center.
The Port Authority said in a news release it will add the site to a contract with Allied Barton Security Services, which has provided unarmed security guard services to LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports since July. The security firm was chosen to cover the airports after a competitive bidding process, the Port Authority said.
An extra $60.4 million to provide security at the World Trade Center site will be added to Allied Barton's original $221 million contract, the release said. Security guards at the lower Manhattan site will provide access control at vehicle and pedestrian guard entrances, monitor security systems and issue security identification cards.
Summit Security Services Inc., which had been providing security at the site, will continue to provide unarmed security guards at other Port Authority facilities, the release said.
"We were looking for a larger security firm that had more resources," said Port Authority spokesman Anthony Hayes. He added that the recent security breaches at the World Trade Center site "were a factor, but weren't the primary factor in moving forward with Allied."
Hayes said Allied Barton's size means the company has "more resources, certainly from a human capital perspective, to support security measures" at the site.
In September, three sky divers parachuted off the top of the 105-story 1 World Trade Center, and a security guard was caught on camera sleeping on the job inside the tower. As a result, a top security official of the Durst Organization, which was responsible for security inside 1 World Trade Center, resigned.
In March, a 16-year-old from New Jersey scaled scaffolding to get to the skyscraper's antenna, 1,776 feet above street level. He was spotted by security after he came back downstairs.
With Maria Alvarez