Wednesday, July 9, 2014
A closer look surprised me even more. The “officers” were not police. They were not Sheriffs department or California Highway Patrol (CHP). They all wore a logo on their sleeves and a logo on an otherwise unmarked car that read “Andrews International Security Services” nothing else. They otherwise had all black uniforms and all were armed like police officers, looking scary and aggressive.
After getting a photograph of their logo (which earned me a dirty look from them) and investigating them with the LAPD, I was told by an LAPD officer that this private security company is part of a program called “Business Improvement District” (BID). The officer explained that they’ve been putting these security entities on the streets for at least a few years to his knowledge. Ultimately, the officer agreed with me that this was a very serious situation saying it was a “very interesting” concept in light of the Constitutionality and legality of it.
These “Business Improvement Districts” go by many other names which all interestingly happen to have three letter representations (like government agencies making them sound official) including the Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), Community Improvement District (CID), Special Services Area (SSA), and the Special Improvement District (SID). All of these groups are similar types of BIDs operating nationwide.
Upon further research on this matter I discovered that this is a business model that first began in 1970 in Toronto where the first Business Improvement District (BID) was created in the “Bloor West Village.” Here in the U.S. the first BID appeared New Orleans in 1974 touting themselves as the “Downtown Development District.”