September 30, 2009
Today started not unlike any other. Except that one of my friends emailed me a story about how a company called American Police Force has moved into a town south of me called Hardin, and how they were “taking over that jail that was built and never opened”. Now most Montanans are aware of this financial OOPS that was this modern jail. It was built, and never opened because it was not built to specs in accordance with prisoner housing requirements pursuant to Montana State Law.
|The new prison facility in Hardin, Montana.|
When I started reading the KULR 8 news stations reports on this “American Police Force”, it immediately made me suspicious as that is totally against the idea of police. Our police are hired and mandated by the local governments they are local to. They are required to go to what’s called POST, or Peace Officer’s Standards of Training. This school is mandatory by Montana Law prior to be appointed as a “sworn peace officer”.
With these concerns in mind, I started making phone calls. I started with Becky Shay, who was the Billings Gazette reporter who initially broke the story. I spent an hour and a half with her and talked about all of the details. She and I had a positive talk where she assured me that she was “thankful for the chance to be able to talk to people like me.” I was appalled to hear that this company had “no intention of revealing who their parent company is”. Ms. Shay confided in me that she went from a reporter’s salary and conditions “driving a ’99 Dodge Intrepid with a broken tie rod and bad front brakes”, to “a brand new black SUV that she doesn’t have to pay the gas bill for”. My jaw was on the floor. Story breaker straight to the being the mouth of the beast…
Ms. Shay also told me that there are people in Hardin that are so grateful for APF’s presence, that they literally opened their homes to her if she needed a place to say. Now this SOUNDS great and all, but it also sounded very manufactured. This conversation went down as if Ms. Shay was trying to sell me something. I read some things about how APF arrived in Hardin, Montana with the words: Hardin Police on the door. This is IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER. They had NO RIGHT to bear that title. They are NOT sworn as peace officers. They have NO AUTHORITY!
[efoods]It was shortly before I ended this call on a positive note, that Ms. Shay expressed a GREAT interest in talking to Alex. I told her that I would be contacting the AJ show. I was told by her that I was TOTALLY 100% OK’d to use ALL of the content in any further correspondence. I then called Mr. Al Pedersen who is the Executive Director of Two Rivers Authority, the financial entity that is in charge of attempting to rebuild Hardin’s infrastructure. I asked Mr. Pedersen to elaborate how a private military company could move into a town, take over a prison that did not meet Montana Code, and dare to emblazon “Hardin Police” on their doors…Mr. Pedersen cursed me out, and hung up on me. I called him back, got his voicemail, and left the message that since he could not see fit to talk to me civilly, that I would be calling all of my elected officials as well as CNN and CSPAN. No reply.
I then proceeded to call KULR8 news in Billings, Montana. They expressed concern about how a near 20 year career reporter could simply sell out and go to work for the very company SHE ousted! The person I spoke to said, “she got herself a bigger paycheck, can’t fault her for that!”. This person also conceded that it was a sell out situation, and was sick. I than called the Office of the Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. The person who answered the phone assured me that Gov. Schweitzer was watching this situation and would see to it that there was NOTHING illegal or unconstitutional going on, and that his office would NOT allow these people to overstep any legal boundaries. They didn’t want to talk about how the APF showed up labelled as “police”. This conversation was abruptly ended by the intern.
I then called the Office of Max Baucus’ Billings location who denied any knowledge. Although Schweitzer, Baucus, and Mt Senator Jon Tester were sued by Two Rivers Authority to allow this prison to be used by a private entity…wherein a judge overturned Montana Law in order to allow this prison to be used privately without disclosing where the prisoners are coming from, or their nature. This company is known to be affiliated with Blackwater Security now known as XE, as well as other PMC’s.
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