People Are Hiring Private Police Squads in Detroit (HBO)

all right vipers stands for violence intervention protective emergency response system we were trained as bodyguards you're trained to make sure that people stay safe this is the purpose of our organization for over 20 years this is what we do for well over a decade Detroit has been struggling with retaining their cops in response an avalanche of private security companies have rushed in reason why you're dressed like this is to be very very psychologically impressive so when they see how you're dressed they think you're serious because you are serious after the city filed for bankruptcy in 2013 budget and pay cuts have pushed cops towards better paying police work outside of the city clear all right house excellent what you're seeing is the beginning of an entire new industry which is threat management services we are literally leading the way in a paradigm shift in safe public and corporate protection my right leg went out my right hand goes up two three this is our tactical training facility this is called the grid is where we store our vehicles this is our tactical boat these are our motorcycles these motorcycles allow us to get to situations very quickly this custom boat allows us to get into shallow water it's also very fun jumps over waves and now people enjoy riding in it Dale Brown an ex-army paratrooper began teaching his own brand of self-defense in the early 90s he started his own security company in 2000 so this is a Detroit fair fight 401 keep your knees bent Brown says is 60-person viper force has more than 5,000 private citizens as clients along with the hundred businesses altogether the company brings in about two million dollars a year this is a community that pays us to protect their community 24 hours a day seven days a week no home invasions no murders no rapes and no armed robberies whatsoever have been done here so police I use law enforcement and what we do is use bodyguarding tactics to prevent predation our goal is to create conditions where violence does not occur we deter violent criminal behavior by projecting strength so our vehicles have all white strobe lights our vehicles are black and chrome there's a strong sense that there is a strong organization that's protecting these people and then we speak to people very respectfully get weapons on you right now okay walk with me over your piece and so we have all these different ways of showing that this is just not a good place to be a predator and it's all nonviolent and we're growing so more and more people they want us in their communities I think in areas in Detroit where you have these very affluent communities right in the heart of the ghetto if you will more and more people are utilizing services like threat management they've shown up whenever by I've called them and in fact their response time is so much greater than the Detroit Police Department that without them I would not be as comfortable private security is booming in Detroit the largest contractor is reported 25 percent year-over-year growth since the city's bankruptcy do we think that security guards that are visible in neighborhoods deter crime yes can security guards replace police officers no the effectiveness of a police department is solely dictated by the trust relationship they've got in the community I was a point as police chief almost six years ago the city was facing bankruptcy there were neighborhood police stations that were closed there was a strong belief that some of these security companies were more effective than the police department but it wasn't just because of the city's bankruptcy in 2003 the federal government accused the Detroit PD of unconstitutional conduct including excessive use of force and illegal detentions they were under federal oversight for 13 years but I think the relationship today is much better than it was a six years ago we are absolutely turning the corner although the department has improved Detroit still has the second worst crime rate in the country this location this is one of our clients if you set up security service with us we respond to your home ten minutes to ten dollars so when we respond to your home it's a $10 charge for the first ten minutes every minute after that is a dollar a minute the main purpose for this is so they feel safe when it close up what you could have is a person trying to hide next to a car when they close up and then attack them when he gets into vehicles so that's our clients leaving wait outside while they lock up the property and then we'll sit in front of the building to wait – the store closes see the one thing about policing in America is the police are the public and the public or the police meaning it's supposed to be a partnership it was never supposed to be about who can afford the most police and go out and hire your own the police the byproduct of your purpose is that people prosper and then we charge them a bunch of money so we can have things a police department is answerable to the public prosper they're answerable to the mayor they're in its role to their City Council and a private police firm depending upon how big it is it seems formal to a board of directors so it's up to you guys to remember your functional purpose because if you'll do that then this has a great opportunity for you for all of us for all of us to make the world a better and safer place clear you

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