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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11800942/

Storm-battered parish considers hired guns

Contractors in Louisiana would make arrests, carry weapons

By Renae Merle
The Washington Post
Updated: 1:06 a.m. ET March 14, 2006

ST. BERNARD PARISH, La. - Maj. Pete Tufaro scanned the fenced lot packed with hundreds of stark white trailers soon to be inhabited by Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Shaking his head, he predicted the cramped quarters would ignite fights, hide criminals and become an incubator for crime, posing another test for his cash-strapped sheriff's department, which furloughed 206 of its 390 officers after the storm.

Tufaro thinks the parish has the solution: DynCorp International LLC, the Texas company that provided personal security to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and is one of the largest security contractors in Iraq. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency approves the sheriff's department's proposal, which would cost $70 million over three years, up to 100 DynCorp employees would be deputized to be make arrests, carry weapons, and dress in the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Department khaki and black uniforms.

But while the plan is for the DynCorp employees to eat and live with the other deputies in the same trailer camp, the hired guns would earn "significantly more" than the $18,000 annual salary of an entry-level deputy and the $30,000-a-year salary of a seasoned officer.

For DynCorp and other private security companies, the post-Katrina Gulf Coast, like Iraq, is a land of opportunity. Hired shortly after the storm to protect several New Orleans hospitals, its first domestic security job, the Texas firm has earned about $14 million from work in the Gulf Coast since Katrina, not all of which has involved security.

Blackwater USA, which protected the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and lost four employees in a brutal ambush in Fallujah in 2004, earned about $42 million through the end of December on a contract with Federal Protective Service, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, to provide security to FEMA sites. Most of the 330 contract guards now working in Louisiana are employed by the company.

The Homeland Security Department's Inspector General said the company's costs in its FEMA contract -- it earns $950 a day for each employee -- were "clearly very high," and it expressed hope that competition would lower them. But costs are not the only concerns raised by critics of the companies.

"Katrina broke all of the rules. It was the first time you had the deployment of armed private security contractors in the U.S.," said Peter W. Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of "Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry."

Singer said the proposed contract with DynCorp raises a number of questions, including whether the DynCorp officers will be properly supervised, whether the pay difference will cause tension in the sheriff's department and whether it suggests that even government jobs that assume a level of public service can be done by private corporations.

Danielle Brian, executive director of Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, said that instead of using the money to hire contractors, the sheriff's department in St. Bernard should invest in training more officers or try to rehire those they furloughed. "Our law enforcement system is based on public service employees and not private contractors pretending to be law enforcement," Brian said.

Greg Lagana, a DynCorp spokesman, said companies like his with experience in security and logistics have a lot to offer government agencies in emergency situations. "We do a lot of work for government that the government finds, for its own reasons, more convenient or more economical to contract out," he said. "Sometimes it's more efficiently done by the private sector. We don't make those determinations; they do. If there is work we can do, we'll do it."

To Tufaro and other law enforcement officials, St. Bernard Parish is facing an emergency. Money dried up so fast after Katrina hit that Sheriff Jack Stephens, an imposing, 6-foot-4-inch New Orleans native, took out a loan of more than $4 million on behalf of the department, which he says he would be held personally responsible for if he left office before its repayment. "It is what I had to do," he said.

Besides being nearly broke, the department has a host of new challenges. The FBI has warned that gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, could come attached to construction crews and establish operations, prompting the department to establish a strike team that has already arrested eight alleged members, police officials said.

Before the storm, the department tangled with "local toughs, slinging dope," not sophisticated international gangs, Stephens said. Added James Bernazzani, the FBI's special agent in charge in the region: "We would be naive to think that this being perhaps the largest construction boom for a region for a long, long time, we're talking eight to 10 years, that they might not try to take advantage of the situation."

The officers have also been turned into part-time psychologists as they deal with the 5,000 or so residents who did not leave the parish. There was recently a standoff with a man who threatened to shoot himself unless he spoke to a FEMA representative and another in which someone chained himself to a trailer. There have been five suicides since the storm, compared with one every other year before, they said. "I think that kind of thing will just increase as time goes on," Capt. Darlene Poche said, noting that a traffic stop can turn into an hour-long conversation. "Everybody wants to tell you their story."

Stretched thin, the department is ready to turn to private contractors to head off what it fears will be an increase in crime as construction in the parish booms and residents adjust to life in cramped trailers.
Personally I think this is scary as all get out and my tinfoil senses are tingling.

People who don't think Americans will ever have to fight against a police state are wrong. Do the math, with what they're paying these guys, these "contractors" are professional soldiers making well over what most military officers will make this year, and they're being turned loose on civilians.

They're a private company who has no more right to enforce the law than I do. If I were to present myself to the mayor of XYZ City and demands $150,000 and the authority to roam the streets with military arms enforcing the law however I saw fit willy nilly, I'd be laughed at or possibly arrested, at least questioned.

This is an insult to REAL law enforcement professionals, I'd trust even the Barney Fife that gave me that bogus ticket with his duties long before I import some guys from Afghanistan who are probably used to shooting first and asking questions later.

And here's a clue: Where is the National Guard? Not here in the U.S. like they're supposed to be to take care of problems like this!

Personally I would see living under such a regime as basically a SHTF scenario. Your lawful CCW permit wouldn't mean squat to these imported contracters. Your constituitional rights wouldn't exist in their mindset either.

This is outrageous, it's like proposing we bring in UN forces to occupy your hometown. And of course that's probably what it's leading up to.

If you want hired guns, do what the framers of the Constituition intended and look for help from your own community. Find a bunch of local volunteers, have them apply and go through a background check screening process, have them provide their own equipment or most of it, and put them through 80 hours of training and deputize them to write parking tickets, carry weapons, and give them the communications equipment they need to report any violations they encounter. Give them a temporary auxiliary deputy status. Granted you'll get a lot of wannabes, but I think you'll also get a lot of people who are FROM the area who care and will do a better job than these Hessians.
 

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The main problem I imagine is the lack of L.E. training these contractors would have. Knowing and working within the confines of the laws ensure fair and proper treatment of those arrested.
Private armies within the U.S. may be bad, but I think most of the contractors are U.S. citizens and most former military. I don't see them as much of a domestic threat.
 

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rocky said:
The main problem I imagine is the lack of L.E. training these contractors would have.
CORRECT SIR! Look at what the California Highway Patrol did to that poor older lady. Imagine what these guys might do, who are used to working in the third world.

rocky said:
Knowing and working within the confines of the laws ensure fair and proper treatment of those arrested.
And that exactly is why this SCARES me. The government is willing to force itself on us without any consideration made as to the welfare of the governed yet AGAIN.

rocky said:
Private armies within the U.S. may be bad, but I think most of the contractors are U.S. citizens and most former military. I don't see them as much of a domestic threat.
I do. I don't know who these people are. And if they are former military, former is the key word there. They left that life behind for whatever reason.

Even if it's a good reason (and there's lots of good reasons, like being forced out of it), the fact is if someone is former military it means they aren't fit to serve any more. It's like if I had my teaching certificate revoked, my education career is over with. I'm not saying it's a bad thing... my buddy Joe will be out of the corps in 4 years or less and he's not a bad guy, it's just that his time when he's eligible to serve will be over.

Why should I consent to having those individuals the military has told "goodbye so long" who aren't trained policemen, who are in fact nothing more than civilians, have the power to arrest and detain me? This is nothing more or less than a mercenary company... excuse me do I live in Pakistan or Syria here?

If it's necessary to bring in mere civilians who aren't trained for this stuff to help augment a police force, my solution makes a whole lot more sense and is cheaper.
 

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What Rocky said. There is a huge difference between security and police, that idea could turn out the be a bigger disaster than the storm!!
 

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Euc,

I too have been thinking about an emergency situation where they declare guns illegal in the area that I'm in and yet there is a high risk to personal safety due to unlawlessness - kinda like in NO.

I had the thought as to what I would do if I were stopped by an officer and it came down to him asking/ordering me to relinquish my gun. If I comply, I may not be able to protect myself and my family from a deadly threat later on. What to do? The confiscation of my gun(s) could jepordize my life and loved ones because I no longer have my guns.

If reasoning with the officer failed and he said turn around and put your hands behind your back, there's only two choices, comply or fight it out right there.

Scary stuff! I guess it would depend on how bad the situation was and if we thought the "authorities" could provide adequate protection.

Hopefully a lot will be learned from the NO fiasco and no one would have to face something like that again. I know a lot of states, including TN, are considering legislation to prevent the confiscation of guns during an emergency.

I'm not optimistic that such a bill will pass in TN simply because we have some Democrates that control a commitee that considers and releases bills for a vote and they won't release any gun bills for a vote because they know they will pass.
 

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This is very scary - not dissimilar to the "warlord", economic, or sectarian "air-fuel mixture" triggering the violence so predominant in the rest of the world. Not to simplify the equation, but it's being "pitched" as a resource issue. Why not just bring back the furloughed officers, invest in more training and a restoration of services provided by the appropriate governmental entity?

By way of fiscal extension (e.g. is FEMA $$ and the local government) is the Posse Comitatus Act being skirted?


Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

-Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1385


Here's an interesting read on the matter:

http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/Articles/brinkerhoffpossecomitatus.htm
 

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Some of the above comments have me puzzled.

For instance,the comment by rocky ref the "lack of L.E training that these contractor's would have". You mean like "what the CHP did to that poor old lady". Most of the atrocities that happened during and after Katrina was perportrated by trained LEO's wern't they? And then the next comment"knowing and working within the confines of the laws ensure fair and proper treatment.....". HUH?

During Katrina the BG's WERE THE COPS! Could a military presence have done worse? Also it sure seems like Euc has allot of contempt for the ex military that are out there making a living doing what nobody else wants to do. The guys at Blackwater are,for the most part exmilitary. They have spent years in little crap holes all over the world fighting for the rights of Americans to belittle what they now have chosen to do to support their families. I'm sure that when fighting overseas as an active duty military member they got paid even less than a math teacher. They had tougher living conditions and they got to see their families a couple weeks a year. Now they are retired or have otherwise left the military(believe me, with honors) and they are using that training to make $150K per year. Just like the other civilians that went in to Iraq after the war and helped to put out the oil well fires. Just like the civilians that drive the fuel trucks and feed the American troops. They make $150K per year too. None of these people should be ashamed. They are doing a job that none of us want to do or are able to do.

Frankly euc,I feel that some of your statements show nothing but contempt for military and ex military people. Statements like,you'd trust people like Barny Fife before you'd trust our military or exmilitary from Afganistan. Statements like,they would probably shoot first and ask questions later. Well yeah,hope so. Statements like,your CCW permit wouldn't mean squat to these imported contractors. Your talking about the American,exmilitary,highly decorated contractors right?? You don't give them much credit.

Statements like,it's like proposing that we bring in UN forces to occupy your hometown. Completely different. Not the same. Now your compareing American citizens(mostly exmilitary with distinguished records),to UN troops. You should be ashamed. Statements like,if you want hired guns. What do you think that our military is? The Blackwater guys have much,much,more than 80hrs.training.They have gone through extensive background checks. They do provide their own equipment. BTW the framers of our constitution would be proud of these men. They are from our own community. In the Blackwater crowd you don't have to worry about ANY wannabe's. They ARE from the area and comparing the men that work for Blackwater to Hessians is just plain wrong.

Something else that I don't understand is your statement that,they are "former military,former is the key word here. They left that life behind for whatever reason." So your saying that a retired math teacher should not ever teach again? Also,and this is a good one, you stated,"the fact is that if someone is former military they aren't fit to serve anymore." The guys in Blackwater have gone through a very extensive background check. They have been,for years,trusted with the nations most closely guarded secrets. They have NEVER had any kind of "certificate revoked". You should not compare the Blackwater men to a teacher that had some "certificate" jerked for something that they did wrong.

Finally you state,"Why should I consent to having those individuals that the military has told "goodbye so long" who aren't trained policemen,who are in fact nothing more than civilians,have the power to arrest and detain me? You go on to say that,"this is nothing but a mercenary company." That's right.Your right.They are. They are mear civilians but have some training in these matters. If you don't want Blackwater then how about having the CHP boys come to your house in the middle of the night ?? Right after they get through with the old lady? -----

I truly hope that my statements and feelings don't get censored. I want all military and exmilitary to read these statements and know that I am very proud of what I was and what I always will be. I may be retired military but my feelings,beliefs,and the fighting mans code will never be retired in me.

My utmost respect goes out to all military. If you served 2 years or 30,no matter what branch of the service,wartime or peacetime,you are all brothers to me. --------
 

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This is more than a little interesting - contentious too. I shall stay in the wings for now.

Keep it cool guys - even tho some opinions might be very diverse :smilez:
 

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Many who serve in the military simply put in their enlistment time and then go back into the civilian world. It's a little hasty to say that every ex-military person got a dishonorable discharge. If they did, they would not be able to get a job doing contract security of any kind.

Bringing in temporary contract police is not OMGWTF UN SOLDIERS TAKING CONTROL!!!!! They're filling a manpower hole using the most efficient method available. To find, hire, and train their own replacements would take a lot longer than just simply contracting it out. Contract employees also carry with them a very temporary status. At any time they can be simply told "we don't need you anymore" and they're gone, off to their next assignment.

Of course you would need to worry about their training and knowledge of the law. I would hope that they recieve some region-specific training before going on duty. I have a hard time believing they wouldn't.
 

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Guys, it seems to me that there's a little bit of "different" meanings going on here.

IMO, nobody is condeming the military or ex-military generally. The only thing I see is some pointed remarks to the type of people that come out of the military and are serving in a "consultant" capacity to support a thin police force.

I think the reference to ex-military personnel was solely in the context that they were less than desireable in the military because of the individual, not because of the military or military training. Now these same guys that were not good military people are "out" and using that "service" credential to get jobs as armed authority.

I didn't see where anybody was saying the official military presence was a problem or the National Guard, except to submit that there was a glaring absence of them [National Guard] because they were on foreign soil.

I think we're on the same side here, let's be sure this "intensity" is not coming from simply misunderstanding each other.
 

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From the article.

"But while the plan is for the DynCorp employees to eat and live with the other deputies in the same trailer camp, the hired guns would earn "significantly more" than the $18,000 annual salary of an entry-level deputy and the $30,000-a-year salary of a seasoned officer."

From Miriam-Websters

Main Entry: 1mer·ce·nary
Pronunciation: 'm&r-s&n-"er-E
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -nar·ies
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages -- more at MERCY
: one that serves merely for wages; especially : a soldier hired into
foreign service

Hired into foreign service? Check

Serving merely for wages? Check

These boys work for Dyncorp, Blackwater etc... and that is where their allegiance naturally must lie.
Therefore, the Parish force is a foreign service.

Merely for wages? See "These boys work for Dyncorp, Blackwater, etc... .

Won't fly in my neighborhood.
 

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A little late to get your panties in a bunch. Back in September of 2005 Blackwater deployed some contractors to NOLA. Contractors helping out in the Katrina releif is old news.

If you're unsure of the training the good PSC's provide take the time to check it so you can make an educated decision.
 

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The sky is falling...

The 'boys' that work for Dyncorp, Blackwater, Triple Canopy, etc. are loyal to democracy and freedom. They're not your fantasy about mercenaries. I googled a few things and found some of the posts here share a lot in common with the opinions of the exteme left when it comes to PSC/PSD. LOL.
 

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Tangle said:
I think the reference to ex-military personnel was solely in the context that they were less than desireable in the military because of the individual, not because of the military or military training. Now these same guys that were not good military people are "out" and using that "service" credential to get jobs as armed authority.
Less desireable? Who here is qualified to say that any contractor is less desireable unless you've worked with one? Maybe less desireable to some in reference to the location of deployment. I can respect that arguement although I disagree with it. Where did the tripe about guys getting out of the service being 'not good military people' come from?

Additionally, as another member here metioned it ain't that easy to walk into a good PSC contract. Having been a POS in the military won't get you through the front door.

Honestly, sometimes the lack of research and over abundance of opinion here amazes me.
 

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Euclidean said:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11800942/
If I were to present myself to the mayor of XYZ City and demands $150,000 and the authority to roam the streets with military arms enforcing the law however I saw fit willy nilly, I'd be laughed at or possibly arrested, at least questioned.
Yes...you would get laughed at.

Failure to conduct due dilligence on your part about the people you're bashing.:congrats:
 

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Rgr5280 said:
The 'boys' that work for Dyncorp, Blackwater, Triple Canopy, etc. are loyal to democracy and freedom. They're not your fantasy about mercenaries. I googled a few things and found some of the posts here share a lot in common with the opinions of the exteme left when it comes to PSC/PSD. LOL.
I assume you are addressing me.

What do dictionary definitions and logical statements have to do with fantasy?

Me thinks thou doth protesteth way too mucheth.

You use a common and transparent tactic of those without an argument. Poisoning the well.

Poor form and does nothing to advance your argument, indeed, it may serve to strengthen mine.

Thanks
 

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The ''hot potato'' is getting warmer - don't let it overheat :wink:
 

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There's a whole lot of assuming going on, thinking that these guys are gleefully going to impose a police state, disrespect the local laws, or that they're untrained and just a bunch of Joe Schmos running amok looking cool with tactical gear. Blackwater and the other contractors have been working alongside the police and military for a long time.

While we sit in the comfort of our offices, there's boys and girls dying out in Iraq and here at home. I'm often amazed at the diligence a police officer and a soldier has - to be able to put his life in the line for someone else for what seems like pennies. There's no amount of money I can put down that would be a proper thank you. So when a man decides to work as a civilian contractor because it pays more - well, I can't blame him. If I was a cop, I'd want an extra buck for risking getting my butt shot off, too.

I've often seen security guards made fun of because of their lack of training. They get snubbed, scoffed at, and many gun owners jeer that they're better equipped and know what to do better than those guards do. They're civilian hired guns (or non-guns).

On the other hand, we have a group of contractors, who have been civilians all their lives, or are ex-military or ex-law enforcement, and they have lots of firepower and excellent training to back it up. Suddenly, people are afraid and think this group is going to oppress the rest of the civilians. The contractors also civilian hired guns.

Too little training. Too much training. Not scary enough. Too scary. Keep the UN out of the US. Police state. Martial law. We want the National Guard.

So you asked for local volunteers and want to give them 80 hours of training, guns, and badges. That sounds like a fantastic idea at first. Louisiana is a busy state right now, scraping itself out of the muck and ruin. The able-bodied men are busy rebuilding for their families, have left the state with their families, are already police officers, are lazy welfare-slugs, or are part of the criminal element. They also stated they have MS-13 on their hands. Knowing what we do about MS-13, how many locals are going to volunteer to wear a badge when these thugs will not only try to kill them, but wipe out their whole family tree, as compared to out-of-state contractors who go in and clean-up and who can't be easily threatened because they and their families don't live there, and who have probably dealt with MS-13 before? Louisiana needs help, and apparently they're having to get help from out of state because the local boys are unable, or unwilling, to deliver enough help.

So you asked for civilians with training, guns and badges. Well, that's exactly what these contractors are, only they have lots more than 80 hours of training, already have real-world battle experience, and they already have guns. Just my personal opinion - I'd rather have someone with as much real-world experience as possible protecting me. So they're not local. Because they're from some other 'hood doesn't mean they don't care about you and yours. A bunch of them are in bodybags fighting in a big sand box across the world. So they went to a fancy-shmansy training school with a cool logo. Does that makes them scary?

Why should I consent to having those individuals the military has told "goodbye so long" who aren't trained policemen, who are in fact nothing more than civilians, have the power to arrest and detain me? This is nothing more or less than a mercenary company... excuse me do I live in Pakistan or Syria here? If it's necessary to bring in mere civilians who aren't trained for this stuff to help augment a police force, my solution makes a whole lot more sense and is cheaper.
So in a nutshell what you're saying is, "I don't want well trained, ex-military, ex-law enforcement civilians to tell me what to do and make life and death decisions, so I want civilians with limited training or no training to tell me what to do and make life and death decisions because they're cheaper?"
 
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