Misinformation abounds

Downtown businessorganization never officially broke ties security company

Breaking up is hard to do … especially when one party fails to tell the other party the relationship has ended. That’s apparently what happened between the Downtown Chico Business Association (DCBA) and Armed Guard Private Protection (AGPP).

In a recent article in which the CN&R uncovered the city of Chico’s nearly $67,000 annual contract with the security company for exclusively armed services to city properties (see “Under the Gun,” Cover story, Nov. 30), DCBA Executive Director Melanie Bassett told the paper her organization stopped using AGPP’s services as of Nov. 17. The problem is, she apparently neglected to tell AGPP.

On Tuesday (Dec. 19), AGPP Administrative Director Adam Stricker said that nobody from the DCBA had contacted him about termination of services. That same day, Bassett again confirmed the DCBA was done working with AGPP, but acknowledged she had yet to formally notify the armed contractor.

Bassett said she’d told AGPP Operations Director Ryan Spehling in person of the break at a meeting held Monday evening (Dec. 18), and that DCBA and AGPP staff are scheduled to meet Jan. 1 to formalize the termination.

Basset told the CN&R in November that the DCBA decided to stop using armed security due to concerns about safety raised during planning meetings for downtown’s recently formed property-based improvement district (PBID).

Some DCBA member businesses also reported they’d not been informed to stop contacting AGPP for service calls. Bassett said a printed and e-mailed circular distributed Nov. 21 announced the formation of a new PBID-funded Downtown Chico Ambassador program and included a hotline to call the ambassadors for service. The circular does not mention a break with AGPP or advise businesses not to call the armed guards in case of emergency. She said a new flier clarifying the situation is being drafted.

Confusion over the armed security issue has been compounded by inaccurate reports by television news stations following the CN&R’s piece. When KRCR news incorrectly proclaimed “Armed guards no longer to patrol City Plaza” on Dec. 4, a post on the company’s Facebook page shared the segment along with a message that read, “This is inaccurate information. A.G. Private Protection has not received any notice to remove firearms, nor has it received notice of intention to terminate service from either the DCBA or the City of Chico ….”

AGPP patrols of City Plaza are executed under its contract with the city, not the DCBA.

Bassett said people in need of assistance should call the Downtown Chico Ambassador hotline at 433-8566.