News / Ottawa

City seeks private eyes for surveillance, polygraphs

The City of Ottawa is seeking a private contractor for internal investigations, which may include administering polygraphs and conducting surveillance, into allegations of policy and standards breaches.

The municipality's Corporate Security Unit wants private investigation outfits to bid on a contract to support "highly confidential" internal investigations, according to a request for proposals issued Friday

"The service provider will be responsible to provide investigative services, such as background research and surveillance to support investigations undertaken by the Corporate Security Division of the City of Ottawa," the RFP document states.

"All work undertaken will be highly confidential in nature and may involve formal interviews of the subjects ... Support services such as polygraph, statement analysis, and electronic surveillance detection may also be required."

The external contract does not appear to be connected to any particular allegation of wrongdoing.

Corporate Security, comprised of 10 city employees, is responsible for the physical security of municipal personnel and assets, including designing security systems and controlling access through photo identification. The unit also conducts and monitors fraud and waste investigations, liaising with law enforcement agencies when required.

The external contractor would report directly to Shannon Kenney, the city's security and emergency management chief. Kenney was not available for comment Monday.

According to the city's specifications, the successful sleuthing company must have a 24-7 dispatch facility and have investigators available on short notice, potentially within six hours. The contractor must be licensed under Ontario's Private Investigators and Security Guards Act.

The contract runs two years, beginning in April, with an option for three additional one-year extensions. It is not known how much the private help will cost the city. Corporate Security's budget for 2013 is set at $1.384 million.

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