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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From Oakland To Africa - Black Neighborhoods - Private Security vs Police

Oakland police officers block a downtown street in January amid protests over the bond set for a former transit officer charged with killing an unarmed man on a subway platform on New Year's Day.
Associated Press

Oakland police officers block a downtown street in January amid protests over the bond set for a former transit officer charged with killing an unarmed man on a subway platform on New Year's Day.

AAPP: So... it seems that The United States is truly ready to turn into a "Security State." No I didn't say, "Police State" I said a "Security State." You see, there are some cash-strapped cities who are trying private guards over police like the city of New Orlean did after Katrina. The city of Oakland has hired a private security firm to police troubled areas.

Bobby White at the Wall street Journal reports, that the city of Oakland, Calif. -- Facing pressure to crack down on crime amid a record budget deficit, Oakland is joining other U.S. cities that are turning over more law-enforcement duties to private armed guards.

The City Council recently voted to hire International Services Inc., a private security agency, to patrol crime-plagued districts. While a few Oakland retail districts previously have pooled cash to pay for unarmed security services, using public funds to pay for private armed guards would mark a first for the city.

Hiring private guards is less expensive than hiring new officers. Oakland -- facing a record $80 million budget shortfall -- spends about 65% of its budget for police and fire services, including about $250,000 annually, including benefits and salary, on each police officer.

In contrast, for about $200,000 a year the city can contract to hire four private guards to patrol the troubled East Oakland district where four on-duty police officers were killed in March. And the company, not the city, is responsible for insurance for the guards.

Oakland is not alone in seeking to improve public safety while reining in spending. This month, the Chicago City Council, facing a possible $200 million budget deficit, proposed expanding the responsibilities of private armed security forces by authorizing them to write traffic citations. In New Orleans, neighborhood committees have sought to expand special tax incentives to pay for private security for neighborhood patrols.

In Oakland -- a city east of San Francisco with about 400,000 people -- hiring security guards is the latest nontraditional measure in its attempt to reduce crime. Last year, Mayor Ron Dellums announced a partnership with the Guardian Angels, a volunteer crime patrol organization, in the midst of a rash of restaurant-takeover robberies. The partnership disbanded after authorities apprehended suspects in the robberies.

AAPP: Do you support private security taking over patrols when it will be cheaper for the city? Will these private patrols be held accountable for their actions. Are these private security agencies trained police officers or old fashioned - hired guns?


—Illustration: Josh Cochran

Speaking of hired guns, Next Stop for American Private Security ---- Africa

Check out the article in Mother Jones Mag regarding Blackwater's New Frontier: Their Own Private Africa | Mother Jones

Bruce Falconer and Daniel Schulman write, "You give me money, I don't care who you are." It was late October, and Zimbabwe's defense attaché, a soft-spoken, thick-shouldered lieutenant colonel, was explaining his country's freewheeling approach to business in the banquet room of the Liaison hotel on Capitol Hill. Mingling around him were representatives from some of the world's best-known private security and military contracting firms, gathered to explore their prospects in the industry's next frontier: Africa. None betrayed any eagerness to do business with Robert Mugabe, notwithstanding assurances from the beaming attaché that Zimbabwe—"the second-largest economy in southern Africa"—remains strong despite 231 million percent annual inflation. But there were plenty of other avenues to explore, including a recent shake-up in the US military's command structure that seemed to promise new demand for firms like Blackwater (which recently changed its name to Xe), Triple Canopy, and DynCorp. More HERE

AAPP: So the U.S. and Africa want to secure neighborhoods, communities, cities and towns. Maybe it's time for black folks to pool our resources and start our own security agencies. Money talks and bull ... you know the old saying...

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