It was mentioned in a comment portion to one of my Survey questions that the San Francisco Zoo now employs Armed Security Guards. I'm making it a stand alone post as I had it in draft to be a post, and I just hadn't gotten to it and its something that I have concerns about and therefore I think should be documented.
I know for a fact that Security Guards in most circumstances do not carry any weapons. I went through Security training (this was before I ended up being public enemy number one there) as I thought the Guards at the Zoo sucked and since I was reporting so many offenders that maybe I would do a better job at protecting them. The Zoo eventually got a new Security company so I never followed through with that. Additionally, that time frame coincided with the Zoo Director slandering me as Public Enemy Number One, so I would not have been hired anyway.
The lack of attention to Visitors behavior at the Zoo has always puzzled me. Starting with my first hard core look at the situation, the Tiger event of 2007. After that I was hyper-sensitive to everyone around me at the Zoo. When you really care to pay attention for the sake of the Animals safety, you see all kinds of wrong. I can't even count the amount of times I have reported Visitors breaching barriers, in addition to blowing cigarette smoke at Animals, throwing rocks into habitats, chasing the free roaming Peacocks, trying to pull their feathers out, riding the farm Animals, yanking on the goats horns, giving them suckers, just all kinds of awful stuff. I think reports from myself and a friend when we saw Visitors with a gun and knife respectively, were the only times it was reported. More Staffers need to be aware of what goes on, because if I'm seeing all this shit, I can only imagine what's happening when I'm not there.
Thats just back-story of this issue. My immediate concern (as was noted in the Survey comment) when I heard that the Zoo had hired Armed Guards, was, so what happens when some idiot drops their kid into an Animal enclosure as a result of barrier breaching, OR someone volunterialy enters an enclosure? In short, if someone ends up at risk with an Animal out of stupidity or evil intention (not by Animal escape), wil the Animal lose its life? The answer to that is YES! The first day I saw these armed guards I asked someone, "Do the Guards have the authority to shoot to kill?" The answer is YES! WTF?
So, these Guards who are ex-military, not trained in Animal situations, are now allowed to make judgement calls in whether an Animal lives or dies. They alledgedly have the go-ahead to shoot any Animal when a Human is at risk. This is outrageous. I have noted in the past I am no humanitarian, but I am especially on the Animals side if they are the innocents in the situation. I sure as hell still feel absolute in the fact that Tatiana lost her life in an effort to save those Criminals.
So, Zoo Officials upon hiring Armed Guards have allegedly done away with the Target Team. The Team was comprised of Animal Care Staff, trained to use tranquilizer guns on the Animals. Just another descision made by Zoo Officials that doesn't have the Animals who live there as a priority. More non-Animal people making life or deaths descisions.
I will also note in regard to Security that Director Peterson had a metal detector installed at the Joint Zoo Committee Meetings when they were held at the Zoo. This came a month after she lied and slandered myself and my Friend, for the Zoo's faulty ER Safety Protocol, which resulted in her revoking our Memberships. I had contacted many City and outside Zoo Officials in relation to the matter and its was noted by her that the metal detector was reflective of "persons contacting ...." Smells of paranoia and self preservation while she apparently could care less about the safety of her Staff and the Animals.