A security guard at the Salt Lake City Public Library has been placed on administrative leave after a video was posted online showing a confrontation with a library patron.
The person who shot the video shared it with 2News but wished to not be identified. It shows three safety officers attempting to remove a patron when one of the guards throws things and appears to chase after the person.
Library administrators confirm the incident happened Wednesday night at the main branch in downtown Salt Lake City.
“A patron who was interfering with other patrons' use of the library and had committed multiple violations of our Code of Conduct was asked to leave the building. From there, the situation unfortunately escalated,” a statement from the library says.
(**WARNING** Video contains offensive language)
Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Public Library Peter Bromberg told 2News that the library is conducting an investigation of the safety officer’s actions and the library security policies.
“Clearly, we are looking at a full reassessment of our processes and training,” Bromberg said.
The library employs approximately 10 security guards who handle a wide range of issues. Bromberg says the library previously used a contract security company, but began hiring its own security officers several years ago in an effort to improve training.
“We’ve hired a professional security manager. We’ve brought our security in house so we can have consistency of training and standards, etc. Our security and safety staff, day in and day out, is highly professional, compassionate, and operates with excellence under very stressful circumstances,” Bromberg said.
Library security officers only ask people to leave when their behavior is disrupting other patrons who are using the library, Bromberg told 2News.
Salt Lake City Police officials say they were not called to the library for this incident and have not been contacted to investigate what happened.
Statement from Salt Lake City Library regarding security officer incident:
The safety of our patrons is our number one priority. We have taken pride in our staff and safety officers’ abilities to regularly deescalate unhealthy, uncomfortable, and at times, dangerous situations. This incident is incredibly disheartening and upsetting, especially when we know the commitment that our safety officers make day in and out to foster a safe environment for all of our patrons.
This job is much more involved and emotionally tolling than most security roles are. Our team is not sitting behind closed walls watching security tapes. They are working side-by-side with some of our most vulnerable populations. People who have been let down by the system, may need additional support, and may need full-time care.
That being said, this incident has revealed the need to provide further training and support for our safety officers, in addition to the de-escalation training already in place. We are conducting a reassessment of all of our security measures. Upon learning of this incident, we immediately opened an investigation and we will take appropriate actions.