The Rogers International Facebook Group Exit Interview Local Media Couldn’t Land If They Tried

by Travis Mateer

While I listened to the fascinating perspective of Rogers International owner, David Pritchard, as he reflected on the past year of providing security to homeless sites around Missoula, I realized how incredibly valuable the work of citizens like Kevin Davis has become.

Would local media outlets have landed an hour-long interview with Pritchard, or offered their audiences a chance to ask questions and get direct feedback?

Nope, but they WILL get the same chance I had to listen and write about what David Pritchard is communicating to Missoula and the local officials who contracted his company to secure the periphery of homeless service delivery sites, like the Poverello Center, the Transitional Safe Outdoor Space, and the Authorized Camping Site, which is closing sometime this month.

To begin, let’s take a look at some numerical claims Pritchard makes, like his impression there are close to 800 “houseless” individuals in Missoula. Is this accurate? While I wouldn’t be surprised, Pritchard didn’t have any “hard facts” to back up this assertion.

Another number that seems significant is the $2.5 million dollars it WOULD have cost had real cops been paid to do the exact same work. Pritchard said this figure was referenced by city officials, and it’s significantly higher because of pensions, training, and other factors.

While private security is “always cheaper”, according to Pritchard, Rogers International is REALLY cheap, considering Pritchard boasted about not spending all the contract money while ALSO complaining that the city didn’t provide his guys PPE when asked.

Having worked with the same population Rogers was contracted to work with, there were some points I could certainly sympathize with, like the sentiment “the powers that be” are happy with the appearance of things being handled, when the reality on the ground is much different.

And what is that reality looking like to Rogers International? Lots of weapons, says Pritchard, especially machetes. Lots of machetes. And lots of overdoses. Pritchard’s exact words were “multiple, daily overdoses”.

It’s with this hell-scape in mind that perhaps the most troubling comments were made by this Veteran who hires primarily Veterans, and that’s when Pritchard said the homeless community was “not too far off from what you see overseas.”

I’m not sure I jive with this assessment, but I haven’t been overseas to check out the veracity of this comparison.

Closer to home, Pritchard offers another statement that I do jive with: “I don’t think their future plans are going to pan out the way they claim the are going to,” he said near the end of the discussion.

I agree.

Now that Rogers International has been replaced by Black Knight, Pritchard has this prediction: Black Knight’s new model of providing a more “hands-off” approach to security will be ineffective.

The types of situations Pritchard described where his staff were effective generally required an immediate response. If you can’t be there in 60 seconds, what’s the point, Pritchard asked? Good question.

There were other fun parts of the interview as well, like Pritchard insinuating the controversial Missoulian article was a setup between Missoulian intern, Griffen Smith, and his “friend” on City Council. Would that be Daniel Carlino?

David Pritchard didn’t have to say anything about his company’s time securing homeless sites around Missoula, but I’m sure glad he did.

And if YOU are glad you’re reading about this Pritchard appearance here first, consider making a donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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6 Responses to The Rogers International Facebook Group Exit Interview Local Media Couldn’t Land If They Tried

  1. While Pritchard’s empirical/experiential observations are valuable and appear in line with what those actually out there know is more real than the City’s official narrative, and while I concur with his opinions of the City’s approach as well as most of his predictions, I think this is a very rare case in which you’ve not fully and objectively assessed his remarks.

    First off, his allegation that Daniel Carlino “set up” Rogers International by exploiting a Missoulian intern is highly suspect. Carlino was as shocked and stunned as most of us, by the photos of R.I. personnel dressed like El Salvadoran Death Squad members, with bandannas over the faces and carrying AR-15s while dismantling “non-compliant” ACS campsites which included such violations as slightly exceeding the very small postage stamp area for a tent/shelter.

    Second, it’s sour grapes for Pritchard because the outcry over that and numerous instances of R.I. workers in company vehicles harassing innocent people walking about town, led to the decision not to renew RI’s contract in the wake of a big wave of protest. That obvious bias in Pritchard’s speculative and unfair attack on Carlino should have been noted. And if Carlino spoke to a Missoulian writer about the controversy, so what? The Missoulian typically is a propaganda sheet for the mayor and official City bureaucracy. Daniel Carlino is far from a sycophant for those who support the current paradigm, and he doesn’t support private police period, including Black Knight.

    Third, it should be noted that R.I.’s track record of truthfulness is abysmal. Four years after moving to Arizona, the #1 at R.I. was still filing FALSE compliance certificates with the State of Montana, certifying that he was “resident manager” in Missoula (for which R.I. was fined). R.I. defaulted on another notice of violation and was fined. R.I. employees without private cop certification were illegally on the street. R.I. cops-for-hire without firearm certifications were packing heat. All of these violations resulted in fines.

    Sorry, but that doesn’t make me feel safer. It scares me.

    Several residents have complained of harassment by R.I. outside of R.I’s

    Carlino shares the views of a huge number of locals, myself included, that for-profit policing (and for profit jails/prisons) is a terrible thing, and the sea of evidence supporting that view is deep and wide.

    • I think you’re taking the word “fun” literally in my brief mention of Pritchard’s attempt to insinuate a conspiracy between Smith and Carlino.

    • Super Duper Secret Agent says:

      Kevin-

      I don’t think you have fully and objectively assessed much of this. However, I will try to address each of your remarks.

      Did he ever say for sure Carlino? lets just run with that’s who he was insinuating. First, what is highly suspect is why a Missoulian intern would enter the camp when the local media including the Missoulian was told it was off limits, by the city (including its council) as to respect peoples anonymity. Also he didn’t “capture, Expose, reveal, or anything”, It was known that he was on his way before he ever arrived. Then he was asked to leave which he did. Carlino did a ride along with RI far before this. So he knows what RI does and does not wear. (Including body cameras) So I find it hard to believe he was “shocked” or “stunned” by photos of R.I. personnel. Also he was not truthful about what happened during said ride along, to the city council and all listening. It would not have been very prudent of them to take a city official for a ride along without precautions would it? perhaps a discussion for another time (Insert ūüėČ here). Carrying AR-15s? pull up that photo and show me where, ill wait. Also RI doesn’t tear down structures, they will help clean up what’s down. The city hires out for that. So if you have complaints there you should go talk to Missoula Code Enforcement. Who also sent an official letter to Carlino stating that it was not RI tearing anything down. Even though that hasn’t changed his story at all. RI did help pick up the remnants though. And why so many guys for a compliance check? So you don’t spend all day doing a stupid compliance check that doesn’t result in any real consequence’s anyways. Work smarter not harder.

      Regarding the numerous instances of R.I. workers in company vehicles harassing innocent people walking about town. Please show me proof, again ill wait. People who have been removed from private property by RI have complaints sure, but harassing and being upset that you got in trouble are two different things. Cant always go based off what someone says. As for harassing people outside their contracted areas again I would have to see evidence of that.

      AND ALL OF THIS BELOW. All of this information is correct except…That its Black Knight’s record your talking about NOT RI. So you have to look at the facts before making those claims. otherwise your just stating false information.
      {Third, it should be noted that R.I.‚Äôs track record of truthfulness is abysmal. Four years after moving to Arizona, the #1 at R.I. was still filing FALSE compliance certificates with the State of Montana, certifying that he was ‚Äúresident manager‚ÄĚ in Missoula (for which R.I. was fined). R.I. defaulted on another notice of violation and was fined. R.I. employees without private cop certification were illegally on the street. R.I. cops-for-hire without firearm certifications were packing heat. All of these violations resulted in fines.}

      You say “Carlino shares the views of a huge number of locals, myself included, that for-profit policing (and for profit jails/prisons) is a terrible thing, and the sea of evidence supporting that view is deep and wide”.
      (This is a subjective opinion. I can show you just as many people don’t share the same sentiment.) And what’s wrong with for profit? Is it a crime to conduct business and get paid for it? As far as I knew this is still America. Also nobody is forcing people to hire private firms.

      When you say (‚Äúnon-compliant‚ÄĚ ACS campsites which included such violations as slightly exceeding the very small postage stamp area for a tent/shelter.) where you also aware that a 20 day notice was given to all residents to pick up their trash and they knew when the check was going to be? Also if they didn’t come into compliance that City Code Enforcement was going to shut the camp down for everyone?

      And just informational – What Contract Companies do or do not do, is determined by the client. They don’t get to just make their own decisions.
      More often than not, things are not always as they seem.

      One thing I strongly agree with Mr. Mateer on is “Would local media outlets have landed an hour-long interview with Pritchard,” (NO) “or offered their audiences a chance to ask questions and get direct feedback?” (Again NO)….
      But Perhaps he should do an interview with you Mr. Mateer.

  2. lost some words there — complete penultimate sentence should read “Several residents have complained of harassment by R.I. outside of its patrol zones.”

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