Category Archives: Law.Enforcement

Have the standards for private security guards become more stringent in the post 9/11 era? An assessment of security guard regulations in the US from 1982 to 2010

Source: Mahesh K. Nalla and Vaughn J. Crichlow, Security Journal, advance online publication May 19, 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
There has been a steady increase in security guard employment in the United States in recent decades. Data estimates for 2010 suggest that there are over 10 000 security companies in the United States, employing 1 046 760 guards. While security guards differ from law enforcement officers in many ways, they are similar to the extent that their activities bring them in close contact with citizens, and this raises issues of professionalism and accountability. Yet, relative to police officers, security guard training and licensing standards are not well established and in some contexts there are no regulations for security guards. The threat of terrorism has resulted in greater attention being paid to security guards for their role in safety and security work in the post 9/11 era; however, the extent to which this has affected licensing and training requirements for security guards is unclear. This study examines the nature and extent of security guard licensing and the minimum standards states impose on the industry. It also compares data from 1982 and 1998 with data from 2010, in order to determine whether states have increased the minimum standards relating to security guard regulations over the past 10 years.

Can a New Police Force Turn Around Camden, N.J., One of the Nation’s Most Violent Cities?

Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, June 2014

In hopes of reducing the city’s high crime rate, Camden, N.J., made a controversial and unprecedented move a year ago to replace its police force.
Related:
Camden County Police Take Over, City Agency Disbanded
Source: Paul Clinton, POLICE Magazine, May 2, 2013

A new county police force formally took over law enforcement duties in Camden, N.J., Wednesday, as one of America’s most dangerous cities dissolved its municipal police force. The Camden County Police Department’s Metro Division began operations with 255 officers, including 150 from the Camden Police Department. City officers who didn’t apply were officially laid off Wedesday. Scott Thomson, police chief of the Camden PD, was sworn in as the chief of the new agency. The county force will eventually reach more than 400 officers by the fall and bring a greater police presence to the crime-plaqued city, Assistant Chief Michael Lynch told POLICE Magazine….
Related:
Crime-Riddled N.J. City Considers Axing Police Force
Source: Elizabeth Fiedler, NPR, Weekend Edition Sunday, August 19, 2012

Although considered one of the most dangerous places in the country, past budget cuts in Camden, N.J., have forced police layoffs. Now the city is considering even more dramatic steps: replacing the city’s police force with one operated by the county…. Jose Cordero, a consultant who’s been hired to develop and implement the new police force, says that a lot of the labor contracts have been negotiated over many years. They reflect years past and “not necessarily the challenges in terms of both economic challenges and public safety challenges that Camden city faces.” Cordero says the plan is to hire more officers with about the same budget. One way the regional force could save money, he says, is by hiring civilians to do work that is done by police….

Black Hawk County janitorial costs to rise

Source: Tim Jamison, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, May 14, 2014

It may cost Black Hawk County more next year to keep the courthouse and other buildings looking good. Members of the county Board of Supervisors opened bids Tuesday on janitorial services for the courthouse, Pinecrest Building, jail and Juvenile Court Services buildings for the three years starting July 1. Despite getting heavy interest — six companies submitted proposals — the apparent low bid was still about $15,000 more than the current annual cost and $5,000 more than was budgeted for the next fiscal year. T&C Cleaning Inc., of Denver, submitted a bid of $230,000 to clean the buildings. The next lowest bid was $247,000 from Marsden Building Maintenance, of Des Moines. Current contractor Diamond Shine, of Vinton, bid nearly $280,000….Geving noted the county was now requiring the interior marble walls to be cleaned annually and was specifying that at least 50 percent of the cleaning chemicals had to be environmentally friendly. The county outsourced its building maintenance in 2003, laying off a number of unionized employees. It was rebid in 2006, with Marsden winning the service, only to see the supervisors terminate the contract after continuous complaints about poor service and office thefts from various departments….

Local cleaning service expects layoffs after losing contract with City of Jackson

Source: Will Forgrave, mlive.com, May 21, 2014

A new contract for janitorial services at city-owned properties will push out a Jackson-based company and likely result in four layoffs of its employees. Beginning July 1, A Williams Cleaning Services will no longer provide cleaning services for the city after nearly four years as the lead cleaning company. Owner Al Williams said he has contracted on and off with the city for 15 years. … Jackson City Council voted 4-3 this month to approve a contract with RNA Janitorial. The Ann Arbor-based company provided a bid of $46,176, nearly $13,000 a year lower than A Williams Cleaning Services’ bid of $59,124….The bidding process calls for the janitorial company to clean City Hall, as well as five other city properties including the city’s water department, the waste water treatment plant, the department of public works, the water treatment plant and the police department….

Virginia: Redflex Caught Using Violation Calculator

Source: TheNewspaper.com, May 21, 2014

Red light camera vendor uses a spreadsheet to calculate profit based on engineering deficiencies such as short yellow time.

Redflex Traffic Systems uses a special spreadsheet to calculate precisely how much profit a city can expect from red light cameras on an intersection-by-intersection basis. WTKR-TV reported about the “violation calculator” that Redflex used to provide the city of Chesapeake, Virginia with the dollar figure it could expect after signing a contract with the Australian firm.

The violation calculator is a more refined version of the criteria red light camera companies have always used. In 2001, a team of attorneys in San Diego, California used a court subpoena to obtain a copy of the confidential site evaluation performed by vendor Lockheed Martin (which now operates as Xerox). The decisions on where cameras were installed were based on finding high volume, downhill approaches where the yellow time was less than 4 seconds (view document)….

….Under Virginia law, it is illegal to base the compensation for a red light camera company on the number of tickets issued or the amount of money collected. During the proposal process, Redflex asked Chesapeake officials to explain the legality of the city’s expectation not to ever have to pay for the camera program through a cost neutrality clause….

Annual Privatization Report 2014

Source: Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation, April 30, 2014

Privatization trends in local, state and federal government, plus roads, highways, aviation, education, telecom and more…

Annual Privatization Report 2014 details the latest on privatization and government reform initiatives at all levels of government. The individual sections include:
State Government Privatization
Education
Air Transportation
Surface Transportation
Transportation Finance
Local Government Privatization (COMING SOON)
Federal Government Privatization (COMING SOON)
Criminal Justice and Corrections (COMING SOON)

Forest Park cleans up with janitorial contract

Source: Jennie Key, communitypress.com, April 24, 2014

The city’s janitorial contract has remained constant since 2007, with no increases in cost or decreases in services. Council extended its janitorial contract with GSF Janitorial Services Monday with no increase this year. Or last year. In fact, the city’s paying the same rate this year that it paid when it started doing business with GSF in 2007….Hodges said while some quotes seemed lower, closer analysis showed they also provided less service. For example, bidder Jani-King’s quote included a reduction in service and didn’t include standard items the city was currently receiving such as daily emptying of the mixed paper recycling containers, spot cleaning of the carpet, the twice annual carpet cleaning, machine scrubbing, stripping, waxing and sealing of the tile floors, and spray buffing of the tile floors as needed….

California Busts Red Light Camera Companies Over Wage Laws / California government fines Redflex and ATS for underpaying contractors

Source: theNewspaper.com, March 19, 2014

California Department of Industrial RelationsThe two largest providers of red light camera systems in the country have been caught flouting labor laws. The California Department of Industrial Relations has taken action against American Traffic Systems (ATS) of Arizona and Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia for failing to pay contractors prevailing wage rates, despite a contractual obligation to do so. ATS was caught violating the rules in South San Francisco in 2012. Six years earlier, the city signed a contract with ATS to install, operate and maintain the devices in return for keeping $5000 per month from the ticket revenue at each intersection approach. In 2009, ATS convinced the city to expand the number of photo enforced intersections. ATS subcontracted the new installation work to a company called Republic ITS. Republic was to receive up to $263,100 to install conduit and wires, erect a pole for the red light camera, connect the electricity and ensure all the proper permits were obtained. …

State Fingerprint System Flawed, More Expensive To Maintain Than To Build

Source: Tristram Korten, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, March 9, 2014

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s troubled five-year-old automatic fingerprint identification system (AFIS) has cost far more to maintain than it did to design and build because of technical problems. It is now so unstable that it is causing delays during investigations and arrests across the state.

A former engineer for Motorola, the company that built the system, has come forward and claimed the company delivered a product riddled with problems. His claims are documented in internal Motorola reports that he said were never shared with the FDLE.

Documents reviewed by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting detail a series of costly maintenance requests and upgrades needed to keep the fingerprint system functioning properly. The documents also include internal Motorola reports recording accuracy issues with the fingerprint system. If true, in addition to delaying investigations, these problems could mean suspects weren’t identified during system searches, and criminal cases using some fingerprint evidence could be called into question.

FDLE contracted Motorola in 2007 to build the $7.4 million system. The contract was sole source, meaning no other companies bid on it. Almost immediately after its completion in June 2009, officials asked the Florida Legislature for money to address maintenance and technical support issues….

Florida Red Light Camera Programs

Source: Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, February 7, 2014

As directed by the Legislature, OPPAGA examined red light camera programs implemented by Florida cities and counties
and answered five questions.

1. How do Florida’s local governments implement and operate red light camera programs?
2. How much revenue do Florida’s local government red light camera programs generate?
3. What has been the experience in other states with red light camera programs?
4. How many violations and crashes are occurring in Florida jurisdictions with red light camera programs?
5. Are there options for modifying red light camera programs in Florida? …

…State and local red light camera revenue has increased more than 200% since Fiscal Year 2010-11… Nearly 50% of fines collected by local governments are used to pay red light camera vendors. … However, some jurisdictions (16%) have had difficulty generating sufficient revenue to make payments to vendors and have accrued outstanding balances… To examine the financial arrangement between jurisdictions and red light camera vendors, we reviewed 36 contracts and city ordinances from 20 unique jurisdictions. 14 We found that jurisdictions typically pay vendors between $4,250 and $4,750 per camera, per month. These payments cover costs associated with site selection; camera installation, operation, and maintenance; review of possible violations; violation issuance; payment collection; data collection; and customer service. ….
See also:
Florida Red Light Camera Programs: A Presentation to the Senate Transportation Committee
Source: Larry Novey, Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, February 13, 2014

Florida Legislative Report Pans Red Light Camera Safety / Florida government report found angle and rear end collision increases at intersections with red light cameras.
Source: thenewspaper.com, February 11, 2014
OPPAGA report coverRevenue from red light cameras in Florida has more than tripled in the past year, from $38 to $119 million, but a report by the state’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability found no commensurate jump in traffic safety. In a report released Friday, the analysts for the legislative branch surveyed the 79 jurisdictions that use automated ticketing machines to determine the impact the devices have had since they were authorized in 2010. According to the study, some jurisdictions made no profit from the cameras after the state took its cut and red light camera vendors, primarily American Traffic Solutions, walked away with half of the proceeds. The lack of local profit is not an issue, as reducing accidents is the stated goal for the majority of red light camera programs in the state…..

Legislators say new state report shows no need for red-light cameras
Source: Tia Mitchell and Kathleen McGrory, Tampa Bay Times, February 11, 2014

Two lawmakers who filed bills to repeal Florida’s red-light camera law say a recent state analysis backs up their argument that there is a better way to improve safety at traffic intersections…. The repeal proposals, Senate Bill 144 and House Bill 4009, have yet to receive any committee hearings. Brandes said he was waiting for the state report before proceeding. Artiles is also inserting changes to the red-light camera program — including a moratorium and reduced fines — in a second, much larger transportation bill. House Bill 7005 would slash the fine from $158 to $83 by removing the $75 that usually goes to local government agencies. Municipalities would be able to impose a surcharge to fund existing cameras, but it would have to be discussed at a public hearing and approved by majority vote….

Discussion about red-light cameras comes as a former executive for a prominent red-light camera vendor is accusing the company of offering gifts and bribes to officials in Florida and 13 other states to gain contracts. That company — RedFlex Traffic Systems of Phoenix — has contracts in Clearwater, Jacksonville and Kissimmee. City administrators in Clearwater have requested corporate gift records from the company, but City Manager Bill Horne told the Tampa Bay Times it has acted appropriately….