BI Incorporated stands alone — apparently.
The Gunbarrel firm was cut off Thursday from paying the Boulder Police Department for an extra officer presence at its offices. It appears to be the only entity of its kind to be made ineligible for the service.
The police service, by which businesses and other groups can pay the department for patrols by officers who would otherwise be off-duty, is commonly used by others in the city, perhaps most notably the annual Bolder Boulder run. But marijuana and liquor-based businesses are barred from engaging the program, per city policy.
On Thursday BI Incorporated was added to the list. The business has multi-million dollar contracts with federal immigration authorities to make ankle bracelet monitoring devices. It also provides oversight of people waiting to move through government immigration proceedings. It is a subsidiary of GEO Group, a private prison business operating an immigration dentition facility in Aurora.
Denver this week surprisingly declined to renew a contract.
Between July 25 and Aug. 8, Boulder police provided off-duty officers to BI for 119.25 hours at $65 per hour as well as police vehicles for $50 per vehicle, city spokesman Patrick von Keyserling said, with $8,301.25 as the total amount paid to police.
Boulder’s move to prohibit the police department from fulfilling off-duty officer requests by BI was sparked by City Manager’s and City Attorney’s offices directives that followed comments and questions from community and city council members alike surrounding whether they had contracts with BI.
City officials offered no additional explanation for Boulder’s decision on Friday, with von Keyserling stating it was “in response to community inquires.”
“The department receives hundreds of requests for off-duty officers every year,” von Keyserling said. “… Approval of other requests would be dependent on officer availability for the time period of such request.”
GEO Group spokesman Rich Coolidge did not answer emailed inquiries Friday as to why BI wanted officers at its offices more often. The spokesman also didn’t address if the business would seek replacement security services. He did release a statement, however, disagreeing with the decision.
“This politically-motivated decision tells our Boulder employees who develop technology and provide services that specifically keep people out of detention centers, that they can be protected by local law enforcement but only until they reach their jobs,” the statement read. “This sets a very dangerous precedent for other local businesses and employees across the county that partisan political decisions are now a priority over the public safety of local residents.”
Coolidge did address concerns late Thursday raised by Boulder activists who have reportedly been told by some immigrants that company ankle bracelets are humiliating to wear. Coolidge explained BI’s work for the Trump government is no different than under the previous president.
“BI doesn’t force anyone to wear an ankle monitor,” Coolidge said. “Immigration and Customs Enforcement has sole authority for participant placement and termination and BI has no authority to make supervision or programming decisions. Furthermore ICE has exclusive authority for selecting the type of electronic monitoring, the intensity of supervision and the frequency of reporting for each individual in the program. BI is and always has been a services provider to ICE and provided these exact same services to the federal government under the same rules and regulations for the entire eight years during the Obama administration.”