Thursday, July 3, 2008

Developing News: Unlicensed Security Guards Threaten Public Safety.

In the past two months three private security guard company owners, including a former APD officer, an alleged pimp, and a convicted criminal, have either been arrested or indicted in connection with operating their illegal security companies.

Robert Hamic

A licensed private investigator, and former Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy, Robert Hamic, tells me in this AUDIO INTERVIEW he’s aware of at least two dozen companies operating illegally in the Duke City. Hamic publishes the NM Security Blog, and suspects there are additional felons carrying weapons, wearing uniforms and carrying security badges.

Hamic says, “convicted felons posing as armed security guards threaten public safety” in the Duke City. He’s worried because New Mexico is a border state. He believes the public responds to security guards as authority figures, and he's been frustrated with the lack of rigorous enforcement by state regulators.

Kelly O'Donnell

I checked with the NM Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department’s Superintendent Kelly O’Donnell to see if it’s a chronic problem. She confirms there are at least eight or nine on-going security company investigations. O’Donnell told me Tuesday in this AUDIO INTERVIEW, the firms can be fined up to $1000 dollars, but they only have two compliance officers assigned to monitor firms statewide. She says they run background checks on all guard applicants, but unlicensed companies simply don’t submit their guard’s names for review.

O’Donnell says they’ll start an aggressive outreach program to businesses and hopes to educate them on the critical need to confirm security companies license status. She says firms who contract security services must insist their providers be licensed by her department. If you have your provider’s security license number you may check it here.

The Superintendent also says it’s of upmost importance that armed security guards not appear to look like a law enforcement official. She tells us local police chiefs and sheriffs always have to approve private operator’s uniforms, badges and vehicles before they are issued a private patrol operator’s license.

RENT- A - COP COMPANY OWNERS BUSTED.

In April, former Albuquerque Police Officer Filberto Baca, the founder of the Armed Response Team, and operator of several unlicensed security firms, was indicted on two fraud charges. Authorities charged him after discovering he may have forged a letter from RLD which assured clients he held the proper state licenses.

In May, Bobbie McMullin the former owner of the Ice House, a nude strip club, was busted for allegedly running a prostitution ring from his storefront security company called Integrated Technical Services.

Last week, the U.S Marshall and the state’s Fugitive Apprehension Team busted a con posing as an Armed Security Guard. Brad Simmerman has been on probation since 2005, and operated American Security Unlimited. Region II Manager of Special Programs for the NM Probation and Parole Division (PPD) Gary Carson tells me that Simmerman is back in jail and being held without bond.

Simmerman told his probation officer he was only on the board of a private security company, but failed to mention he was on armed patrol. He says they don’t want probationers working as security guards and they knew Simmerman was on patrol it would have sent red flags up.

As soon as the P.P.D. team was notified that Simmerman was carrying a firearm authorities developed a plan to re-arrest him. In this AUDIO INTERVIEW Carson says after entering Simmeran’s residence, agents found ammunition, deadly martial arts weapons, and vials of anabolic steroids. Agents believe the steroids were manufactured in Mexico. The drugs have been turned over to the D.E.A., but it is unclear who Simmerman was dealing the drugs for, but they suspect it may have been for a white supremacist group. The task force also found a Whizzanator in Simmerman’s home.Carson tells us probationers use this tool to cheat urine analysis tests. Carson says Simmerman was arrested without incident.

In 2006, the State Legislature enacted new rules for training security guards. O’Donnell told me they will begin rolling out those new procedures later this summer. The new rules are posted here.

Hamic says he’ll continue to monitor the industry on his blog and Jeremy Jojola plans a video report on Eyewitness News 4 next week.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In general, I think Mr Hamic is doing an outstanding job focusing so much time and his personal resources on investigating New Mexico's security industry. A couple of hints for him though...

It's ethically questionable for him to be heavily advertising his own services as an alternative for the companies he's investigating. This effort should be completely separate from his business, Summit Security.

I understand he's sending out his own private investigators (presumably on his dime since this isn't a legitimate business expense) to film security guards from suspect companies. He's already posted one such video on youtube and though the behavior of the guard is absolutely reprehensible, I find it once again, ethically questionable for Robert's investigators to film guards on private property patrol accounts. Wouldn't it be far more "responsible" and "mature" to contact the owners of the property and let them know there is a problem with their patrol service?

Whatever Mr Hamic's motives, at least he is using his personal time and his personal assets to highlight some very glaring problems with our industry and I do appreciate his concern.

New Mexico Security Blog said...

Sir,

I am competing fairly in the business place. After eight years of attempting to get the state to enforce its laws and yes, informing businesses of unlicensed companies that provided their security services; I decided to take another route.

Most of the pictures that we take are on public streets but it is also not a violation of law to take photos or video on property where the public is invited. The news does the same thing and in fact, Jeremy Jojola took video from the same exact spot that my investigators were located. I am sure that you caught the show last night on channel 4.

The New Mexico business community doesn't seem to care about unlicensed security activity. They seek low bids for their contracts. The lowest bids come from unsafe and unlicensed companies that are compromising their guards safety by not training them. They compromise your safety by not training them. They don't pay worker's compensation or even turn over the amounts that are withheld from the guard's paychecks. Think of this the next time that you go to most any of Albuquerque's car dealerships. Solid Steel Security is used almost exclusively (unlicensed of course).

Thank you for your interest and concern about the security industry. I feel like I have exhausted all other viable alternatives and I will proceed in the best way I know how. I do keep my company in business to pay my employees, their benefit plans and to support my own family. Unlicensed companies threaten all of my efforts.

Please look at my new story for tomorrow: http://www.callsummit.typepad.com

Melanie Martin said...

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New Mexicos truth teller said...

check out the truth about rob hamic and his deception blog at nmtruthteller.blogspot.com