Local News

Sunday, Apr 07 2013 02:00 PM

Ask The Californian: What's with these fences and guards?

By The Bakersfield Californian

Q: What's going on at the federal building at 800 Truxtun Avenue? A new security fence has gone up and I noticed armed guards there.

A: The new fence is one result of a lease renewal that came with various tenant upgrades. As for the armed guards, they've apparently been there for years.

A spokeswoman with the independent General Services Administration, which manages office space and provides other services for the federal government, said the agency awarded a succeeding lease last summer for the building's sole tenant, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.With the renewal came a facility improvement budget of $650,000, to be paid off over five years. GSA spokeswoman Traci Madison stated that the money was spent on an exterior fence, security upgrades, parking lot lighting, carpet upgrades, paint, tempered glass, electrical work and improvements to the building's heating and air-conditioning system.

Two ICE operations are housed at the facility: an investigative arm called Homeland Security Investigations, and Enforcement and Removal Operations, which focuses on what ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice called administrative immigration enforcement.

The building does not serve as a detention facility, Kice stated in an email. She wrote that people arrested by ICE on criminal or administrative charges are sent there to be processed but are moved to other facilities if they are to be detained over a longer period.

She noted that armed security personnel with the Federal Protective Service have been assigned to the location for at least eight years. FPS is part of the Department of Homeland Security; it is in charge of protecting federal facilities across the country.

Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to asktbc@bakersfield.com or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.

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