Family Security Matters
October 2, 2009
The American Police Force (APF) is a mysterious group that is attempting to lease a jail in Hardin, Montana. Trouble is, the APF is not answering questions regarding the source of their financing, their parent company, or even from where the group plans to obtain prisoners. Worse yet, the APF has other plans for the area – some of which are not approved by local officials.
The APF claims to be a private security company, however, a search of two comprehensive contractor databases by the Associated Press turned up no record of the company. Representatives from the Defense Department, State Department, and security industry representatives have not heard of the group that boasts 1,600 employees, “rapid response units” ready to deploy “worldwide,” and the ability to field a battalion-sized team of special forces soldiers “within 72 hours.”
APF was incorporated in March, conveniently just after Hardin officials were desperate to fill the jail that they were willing to house terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
What APF claims as their Washington, D.C. headquarters is not their office at all. In fact, the building is a “virtual office,” which would allow APF to claim a Pennsylvania Avenue address without even occupying the structure. Ashley Korner of Preferred Offices, the business that leases the location, said that APF has not even completed their application to use the facility.
The APF raised more concern when three Mercedes Benz SUVs arrived in Hardin bearing Hardin Police Department markings. Hardin hasn't had a police department for 30 years, and at the time of the APF's arrival, the Big Horn Sheriff's office had jurisdiction.
Hardin's mayor Ron Adams ordered the markings removed. However, steps are underway to stand up a Hardin police force – a move strongly supported by APF.
Two Rivers Authority (TRA) vice president Al Peterson responded, “I have no idea. I really don't because that's not been a part of any of the discussions we've had with any of them.”
What other activities could APF have in store that aren't part of the “discussions?”
According to the TRA, no one has agreed to the APF having jurisdiction over Hardin. "That was never in the contract to begin with. I think it was on a wish list of what Captain Michael [Hilton] wanted to do here,” said Peterson. Despite earlier claims by city officials that an agreement was made two weeks ago, they are still working on the agreement, which only covers the jail. APF has mentioned other services they would provide the community, such as a homeless shelter, animal shelter, MRI services, and that their police would bring meals to the hungry.
APF has announced that 80 percent of the group's 200-plus jobs would be from the Hardin area. The job fair that APF promised has yet to materialize, but on Friday the group hired Becky Shay, the Billings Gazette writer who had been covering the story. Shay promised a new level of transparency, but has been anything but forthcoming since joining APF.
Maziar Mafi, the group's attorney (who was hired only last month), said that the APF spun off of a larger security group in 1984. Mafi, Hilton, and Shay all refuse to name the parent group, and are not forthcoming on how APF will finance their operations.
“I have assurances and I have faith that there are connections with that parent group. I can't say more than that,” Shay said.
Officials are not disclosing who the APF has hired to head the taxpayer-funded TRA. Peterson said Wednesday that "people will be shocked" when they learn that "a person of this caliber and this quality" will be running the facility.
"I did my background checks and my homework, and they're legit," said Peterson.
Apparently, his “background checks” did not include “Captain” Michael Hilton, the president of AFP. Hilton is originally from Montenegro and speaks with a heavy accent. The Billings Gazette reports today that Hilton goes by more than a dozen different aliases and has an extensive legal background, including criminal, civil and bankruptcy cases. Orange County, Calif. records reveal that Hilton has been convicted of 14 felonies, including grand theft and diversion of construction funds.
Hilton claims to have extensive military expertise and claims to have spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan, but those who know him are not aware of a history of any such activity.
Greg Smith, the TRA official who is responsible for bringing the APF to Hardin, was placed on administrative leave, and no one is answering questions as to the nature of the dismissal. His wife Kerri is one of two finalists in the race for Hardin mayor, and if she loses, will be offered a job by the APF.
Peterson says that the two parties now hope to reach a deal by Friday night.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Chris Carter hosts the talk radio program Unto the Breach, which covers international terrorism and issues of national security. He is a research analyst at the Counterterrorism Research Center of the Family Security Foundation. He also serves on the information committee of the 2010 Medal of Honor Convention project. Visit him online at http://www.crushingchris.com/.
In: Iraq, Afghanistan, LiveLeaks
Tags: American Police Force, farce, Serbia, flag
Location: Hardin, Montana, United States (load item map)
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