APF appeared to be claiming jurisdiction over the town yesterday when three Mercedes SUVs belonging to the group arrived bearing Hardin Police markings. Trouble is, Hardin hasn’t had a police department in 30 years and currently have a contract with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office.
The mayor told the APF to remove the decals.
Michael Hilton, who might or might not be a spokesman for APF, said in a CBS/AP article that “the vehicles would be handed over to the city if it forms a police force of its own.”
Free police cars sound too good to be true, especially considering that no contract has been signed, and the contract in question only covers the Hardin jail. Which interestingly enough, it was recently revealed that the company’s operating agreement for the facility has yet to be validated – two weeks after city leaders first unveiled what they said was a signed agreement.
What did city leaders and APF agree to?
Hilton also said he planned a helicopter tour of the region in coming days to look at real estate for a planned tactical military training ground. He said 5,000 to 10,000 acres were needed to complement the training center, a $17 million project.
5,000 to 10,000 acres for what kind of training? This company claims the capability of fielding a battalion-sized team of special forces soldiers “within 72 hours,” but who would they be training? Who will be conducting the training, and where would they come from?
APF said that the majority of their 200-plus employees (for a 464-cell jail) would be local hires, but the job fair that APF promised did not happen. They did, however, manage to hire a spokesman.
Becky Shay, a reporter for the Billings Gazette who covered events surrounding the jail since its construction. Shay said she intended to bring new transparency to the process, but declined to directly answer the first question posed to her: Where is American Police Force getting the money to operate the jail and build the training center?
“I know enough about where the money is coming from to be confident signing on with them,” she said.
Hilton said he also had a job discussion with Kerri Smith, wife of Two Rivers Authority Executive Director Greg Smith, who helped craft the deal to bring American Police Force to Hardin. Greg Smith was placed on unpaid leave two weeks ago for reasons that have not been explained.
Kerri Smith just so happens to be running for mayor of Hardin.
I don’t want to sound like some black-helicopter, tinfoil-hat conspiracist, but there is apparently something grievously wrong with the American Police Force. Quite frankly, these unanswered questions and falsehoods surrounding the APF should have disqualified them from operating in Hardin.
A full investigation should be conducted on APF before they can establish a beachhead in the United States.