Monday, August 12, 2013

Preferential Treatment for Bulletproof?

Highly controversial mining company, Gogebic Taconite, employed an out-of-state firm to provide security and otherwise intimidate people anywhere near the northern Wisconsin mining site. Apparently no Wisconsin security companies were adequate so Gogebic Taconite hired Bulletproof Securities of Scottsdale, Arizona. They made big news last month after photos surfaced showing them creeping around in camouflage and carrying high powered weapons.  It was quickly discovered that Bulletproof was providing these security services in Wisconsin without being licensed in the state.

It was recently reported that Bulletproof obtained their license from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services last week.  To be exact that license was obtained on August 5th and doesn't expire until August 31, 2015.  Perhaps someone with more time should examine how fast the department typically licenses similar companies.  Was this out-of-state firm put on a fast track or did they have the same kind of wait that any other Wisconsin firm would experience?  Frankly, I don't have the time, capacity or resources to answer that question but it certainly should be pursued.

We should also remember that the issue is not only that the agency itself was not properly licensed in Wisconsin after already starting security work here but none of their employees were apparently licensed individually as required.  At least four of their employees were finally licensed on the same August 5th date as their agency.  How fast were they issued their individual licenses and how does it compare to the average Wisconsin security worker?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that complaints were filed with the Department of Safety and Professional Services regarding Bulletproof performing security services without having a license.  They went on to report the following
Under state law, providing security without a license can be punished with a fine of $100 to $500 and three to six months of incarceration. In addition, regulators can bar a firm from providing security services in the state for one year for failing to comply with the law.
Again, not only did the agency fail to obtain a license but their individual employees also failed to obtain individual licenses as required. However there is no indication that a proper hearing was conducted by the Department regarding these violations by Bulletproof.   So is it possible that they were fast tracked rather than being held accountable by the agency? Sadly it wouldn't be a huge surprise given the fact that Scott Walker has been busy in his first term stacking former civil service jobs with political appointees and loyalists.  It also wouldn't be surprising given the early notice that Walker got regarding the invading mercenary force from Arizona. 

Did Bulletproof get preferential treatment from the agency that should be regulating them and disciplining them for their violations? I don't know but take a look at how other firms were dealt with for violating similar rules and regulations. I realize that there could be components in these examples that I don't know about but it is at the very least interesting given the treatment that Bulletproof did/didn't receive.
  • An Oshkosh-based security firm was properly licensed but they apparently employed a person that did not have a proper individual license.  They were reprimanded and fined. 
  • A Milwaukee-based security firm was properly licensed but failed to simply notify the Department when certain employees stopped working for them. They were reprimanded and fined
  • An Illinois-based security firm which was properly licensed in Wisconsin had an employee working in Wisconsin after their individual security license had expired.  The company was reprimanded and fined. 
  • A properly licensed Iowa-based agency had a worker that didn't have an individual license.  It appears that the worker only performed those services for a single day.  Yet they were reprimanded and fined. (Note: they did have prior issues before this incident).