By Nick Lough & Katie Ussin
Story Published: Sep 28, 2009 at 7:53 PM MDT
Story Updated: Sep 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM MDT
BILLINGS – Confusion and secrecy about American Police Force has grown during the last few weeks.
“APF has been here for 10 months but it has never been stealth,” said APF spokesperson Becky Shay at a press conference on Saturday morning. The group announced its plans to fill the $27 million dollar detention facility and build a police training center next to the jail. While they gave details for the site, other questions went unanswered.
Where will the prisoners come from? What experience does APF have in prisoners and training police officers? Why was Two Rivers Authority Executive Director Greg Smith placed on administrative leave?
During the press conference APF also refused to release any information on its funding or organization “The decision is the name of the parent company will not be released,” said Shay.
When questioned about the decision to show up in Hardin last week in vehicles with “Hardin Police” templates, members were brief in their explanation. “They are to show are intentions are good,” said APF leader Captain Michael Hilton. “Why not put an APF logo on it,” said Shay. “You know we’re getting there.” All of the decals were removed from the vehicles two days later.
APF has consistently stated the community has nothing to fear and says its plans will help stimulate the Hardin economy. “This corporation’s intention is to buy local and stay local and do local business as much as we can,” said Shay.
Residents appear split in their feelings over the company. Some want more information, but others believe it will be a tremendous boost to the area. The company plans to hold a job fair in Hardin the third week of October.
Another development this weekend was the naming of Shay as APF’s new public relations director. Shay was a reporter with the Billings Gazette who had covered the detention facility story for last few years. She announced on Friday she was leaving the paper and hosted the APF press conference Saturday morning.
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