Unlicensed guards pulled temporarily from Gogebic mine site

2013-07-11T11:15:00Z Unlicensed guards pulled temporarily from Gogebic mine siteSTEVEN VERBURG | Wisconsin State Journal | sverburg@madison.com | 608-252-6118 Chippewa Herald

The heavily armed, camouflaged security detail guarding Gogebic Taconite drill sites in Iron County was pulled out Wednesday because the contractor failed to obtain proper licensing from the state.

Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz said the change is temporary and not in response to objections raised by two state legislators and mine opponents who said the guards’ presence was heavy handed, needlessly intimidating and potentially dangerous.

“They did a great job out there,” Seitz said of the guards from Bulletproof Securities of Scottsdale, Ariz. “We have a safe work site.”

As soon as the state issues permits, the team will be back, Seitz said.

But if Bulletproof is convicted of operating without a license, under state law it would be barred from working in Wisconsin for one year.

Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske said Gogebic took the right action by removing the guards, but he will investigate the possibility of penalties.

Under state law, an individual or company convicted of providing private security services without a license may be fined up to $500 or jailed for up to six months.

Department of Safety and Professional Services spokeswoman Brittany Lewin said license applications usually take a few days to process. She didn’t respond to phone calls or emails asking what, if any, enforcement options the department would pursue.

“DSPS does not comment on the specific details of pending applications,” Lewin said in a statement. “We will give you an update if any new licenses are issued.”

The state requires background checks, photographs and proof of insurance from security contractors before it issues private security licenses and licenses to carry firearms while performing security duties.

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said the masked, camouflaged guards were there to intimidate mine opponents, and the high-powered, semi-automatic rifles they carried weren’t needed to guard construction equipment.

Bulletproof president Tom Parrella said Wednesday there was no intent to scare anyone, only to use weapons adequate to handle worst-case scenarios while protecting mine workers in light of online threats from a few extremist protesters, and “bizarre and alarming” behavior of people sneaking through the woods.

Bulletproof personnel wear masks to prevent threats to their families that could occur if their photographs were circulated, Parrella said.

“The guys aren’t out there to create some kind of fashion statement,” Parrella said. “These guys are professionals. They are not mercenaries, they are not hired guns.”

Parrella said it was an oversight that state of Wisconsin licensing wasn’t obtained.

“There was about a three-hour notice to pack our trucks and send them up to Wisconsin,” Parrella said.

Jauch is one of two legislators who asked the mining company to get rid of Bulletproof, which bills itself as a “no compromise security force” that trains employees in the use of a variety of weapons, including machine guns.

Jauch said he found out Tuesday that Bulletproof was not licensed in Wisconsin after state regulators sent him a list of 660 companies licensed for private security or detective work. Bulletproof was not on the list, Jauch said.

Gogebic and Bulletproof should be fined, Jauch said.

“They’ve been illegally providing services for weeks,” Jauch said. “I blame Gogebic. They had a responsibility to hire a company that complies with Wisconsin law. I think they were in a hurry to hire this strong-armed militia group when they could have hired a Wisconsin firm.”

Gogebic is conducting test drillings for an eventual 4½-mile-long open-pit iron ore mine.

Environmentalists say it will ruin a pristine wilderness and pollute water. The Republican-controlled state Legislature this year approved a controversial mining law designed to help Gogebic and create jobs.

The Penokee Hills forest near Lake Superior draws scores of hikers and vacationers in addition to mine protesters.

Gogebic said the guards were necessary because of a June 11 vandalism incident in which a woman was charged with taking a camera from a mine worker during an incident in which tires were slashed and fences pulled down.

A Stevens Point woman faces a charge of robbery by force and three misdemeanors. She is alleged to have wrestled a camera from a mine worker who was videotaping her during a protest at a test drilling site.

Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk said there have been no other incidents of vandalism or violence reported.

The company had two or three other options for security guards and will rely on those until Bulletproof is licensed, Seitz said.

Copyright 2015 Chippewa Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(21) Comments

  1. Interested Party
    Report Abuse
    Interested Party - July 12, 2013 12:37 pm
    My wife hates to have her picture taken and grabs the camera from me sometimes but I don't hire armed guards with M16's to protect myself. It's like the old saying of you don't use a sledge hammer when a flyswatter will do he job.
  2. Enlightenment
    Report Abuse
    Enlightenment - July 12, 2013 11:52 am
    In regard to the 20th position for education, it would be interesting to see if this is K-12, higher ed, or combined. It would also be interesting to see if the data obtained was pre or post Act 10.

    Regardless, it's a very unscientific study based on this alone: "weighting the categories based on how frequently they are cited in state economic development marketing materials." This approach suggests that a state could receive a higher rating simply by have a very creative person writing the state's marketing material. Overall, it's not a quotable or credible study.
  3. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 1:48 pm
    HAHA now that's funny...you seem to be confused as to who took the camera from who. You were the one who started the "promise" argument with corporations. Corporations owe nothing to society, and society owes nothing to them...other than allowing both people and corporations to go about their business. They are not confronted by the "criminals on public land." You seem to be confused as to what "confronted" means. The security company isn't venturing on to public lands and "confronting" anybody. They are lawfully protecting private land. Again you should refrain from calling the employees criminals as they are not...you do have a thick skull and it is the employers problem with WI ADMINISTRATIVE CODE NOT CRIMINAL STATUTES. Yes I am yelling that at you duh. I did not call the protestors terrorists, I compared their tactics to the Muslim extremists tactics of convert or be harmed....which is perfectly provable. You may not realize it but your first paragraph proves my entire point.
  4. southernboy
    Report Abuse
    southernboy - July 11, 2013 1:33 pm
    as a citizen i dont promise anything ....
    I understand that violating another persons rights - is prohibited by laws
    I owe nothing to society -- society owes nothing to me-its a simple premise about 237 years old- my duty and obligation is to myself- not to interfere obstruct with any other persons exercise of right like those people lawfully on Public land when they were confronted by the Criminals carrying automatic weapons absent licensure or permit on gogebic payroll

    Was the person using the camera- in the company of the Armed Criminals?
    tell me, was the person filming the illegal actions of the men carrying guns without licenses or was the person using the camera in a manner to intimidate the people legally on public land - asking questions
    Was the person using the camera being protected by the Armed Criminals???

    then you jumped up and called the protesters terrorists---

    wow there seems to be no end to the things you dont understand ...
  5. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 1:14 pm
    Nor is this story newsworthy.....
  6. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 1:12 pm
    Your arguments are s false it's unbelievable. They are permitted to carry those guns on the property they are on...A. They were sent by their employer on short notice..the fact that the license is not present is an administrative rule...again not criminal...B. Going onto property that they have permission to be on in possession of weapons is NOT criminal...C. Finally D... this has absolutely nothing...zero...zilch...nada.... to do with state weapons laws and everything to do with WI administrative code.....again!. So you just take your invalid argument and head out west to CA where your kind is more than welcome...(CA bill AB1266) and spread your fictions there. checkmate. How are they to trust the security and "peaceful" protests based on the actions of those already there...criminal damage, robbery, disorderly conduct, theft, reckless endangerment of safety???
  7. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 1:04 pm
    I'm suggesting that we are above average without spending billions, and those on your side continue to whine about our "race to the bottom." I especially like our education ranking top 20%.
  8. southernboy
    Report Abuse
    southernboy - July 11, 2013 12:50 pm
    i labeled the unlicensed armed men criminals -- a man carrying a gun he is not permitted to carry is a CRIMINAL -- I note you too are a friend to criminals even willing to idolize them for their arrogance-- to travel a 1000 miles for work they are not licensed to DO -- criminal

    go onto property of another carrying firearms-- thats a criminal

    Ignoring laws --- Criminal

    "they'd be whining if they carried batons"... put some guards up there and prove your point-- OH WAIT -- we can't -- we cant trust the MINE Company to employ legally persons for the reason of security-- based on their FIRST ACTIONS of hiring illegally a security force

    Technically, they've only just begun and seem to have no problem ... flagrantly violating state laws.... regarding weapons and firearms

    How are we to know they'll follow the laws on other subjects..... hmmm ?

    we should trust your judgements-- you the one friendly to the criminals

    nope... afraid not

  9. Enlightenment
    Report Abuse
    Enlightenment - July 11, 2013 12:22 pm
    Because being average isn't newsworthy. WI is ranked 22nd, are you suggesting meritocracy be promoted?
  10. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 11:10 am
    On a different note why isn't this story on the front page of the Herald???
  11. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 9:58 am
    As I stated above it is not a criminal statute violation. It is a section of WI Admin Code. Good try though. Way to throw the "thugs" label in there. I'm sure many of these security guys are retired police or military and deserve way more respect than you are willing to give...in the name of peace. If you want to get into the "thug" debate then why don't we talk about the latest revelations with the DOJ and Al Sharp...or Eric Hol... ah never mind.
  12. ObbieZ
    Report Abuse
    ObbieZ - July 11, 2013 9:43 am
    And you can't hire an unlicensed security firm, otherwise that makes you a vigilante. So if your "not break any laws" standard is applied evenly, then the GTac execs who hired these thugs should go to jail.
  13. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 8:43 am
    As an American citizen you "promise" to not break any laws. You also can't interfere with others' ability to make a living or go about their business. You can't recklessly endanger safety 941.30. You can't rob someone of their possessions by force 943.32. You can't criminally damage others' property 943.01. Just peaceful non-criminals right???? We must all "coexist" and be peaceful towards each other....er wait...doh unless I disagree with you. Hmmm sounds eerily familiar to that religion of peace. We are Muslim extremists...we come in peace, unless you are not Muslim, than you must convert or die.
  14. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 8:34 am
    Peaceful eh? "which a woman was charged with taking a camera from a mine worker during an incident in which tires were slashed and fences pulled down.
    A Stevens Point woman faces a charge of robbery by force and three misdemeanors. She is alleged to have wrestled a camera from a mine worker who was videotaping her during a protest at a test drilling sit in." I always get a kick out of what the peaceniks define as peaceful..... Also especially love the fact that they can rob someone that is videotaping them but will sit and video the police with no second thoughts.
  15. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - July 11, 2013 8:30 am
    Wow southernboy, what your long rant lacks in fact, it sure makes up for in emotion.
    First, you label all the employees criminals. False, the license violation is an administrative rule far from criminal, and it's on the company not the guards to get licensing. Second, the "loon" who was one of the protestors is actually a criminal and committed a criminal act. Your side would lump the loons with all the others of your opponents. Next you use the following "corporation that holds no specific patents, neither owns holds/owns or uses any trademarked processes/practices and says it has nothing to hide." What does that matter? No such prerequisites exist to hire such a company. They'd be whining if the guards only had sidearms or batons. The protestors are just upset that they can't use their usual bully tactics to force people to "coexist." land "open to the public" yet the next sentence it's police on "private land?" The guards cover their face to protect their identity from "loons".
  16. southernboy
    Report Abuse
    southernboy - July 10, 2013 11:36 pm
    actually no I didn't catch the news I was having dinner in menominee -In consideration of the issues/facts you missed in the printed article, ill have to watch the news and make certain you didn't miss -again
    after it, therefore because of it ( thats your math thats the product of your deduction abilitys )
    you established the unreasonable premise that "Because" the company hired a special weapons assault tactical response team- they have been assaulted. It is a novel idea old timer, but hardly a realistic one since you can't demonstrate anything beyond your mischaracterized beliefs.

    consider why, a Special weapons and threat assessment team is necessary to protect a corporation that holds no specific patents, neither owns holds/owns or uses any trademarked processes/practices and says it has nothing to hide finds it necessary to employ a team you'd find working for government at a top secret nuclear facility.

    You whine about the protestors... whose government was just found to have Financial wing intimidating ordinary citizens- and ask WHY a protester would need to be in disguise. One moment, you have the sight of an eagle,the next.. your blind like a bat.

    Did this security team violate any privacy laws investigating protestors- I'm sure you'll reply NO but old timer , we know they are running around the woods of northern Wisconsin Unlicensed and uninsured in violation of our laws- it says that right here in the paper, ill bet you were so bewildered by the protestor wearing a cap you missed the Guard..carrying two automatics probably 100 rounds.dressed in green cammo,disguise all tricked out with the hardware and a comm set.

    I THINK IT HILARIOUS.. your a fan of the Criminals.. and NOT THE CITIZENS engaged in non violent protest

    Your supporting the guys without licenses, illegally traipsing land "Open to the public", illegally possessing firearms and ammunition pretending to be police on private land --- your support the criminals..who traveled here from Arizona to EARN MONEY in violation of Wisconsin's Laws.. and whine about---
    all things considered at this point who cares..
  17. old timer
    Report Abuse
    old timer - July 10, 2013 10:49 pm
    Southernboy. No, the old timer didn't fail to notice that there is an issue about the licensing of the security company. The old timer simply stated that if the protestors hadn't committed the criminal act(s) alleged to have happened, they likely wouldn't have had to hire a security company in the first place. And, after reading your rant over, it's obvious that anyone with a different opinion than the one you have is in the wrong, and even labelled a republican (LOL) . How original of you. By the way, did you catch the TV 18 news report on this topic tonight? Notice who had the masks covering their faces? Hmm...
  18. southernboy
    Report Abuse
    southernboy - July 10, 2013 7:56 pm
    oldtimer failed to notice they Illegally hired a security company-

    as a licensed corporation they promise and agree to not violate any laws- hiring a company unlicensed is unlawful and contradicted by law and is their responsibility NOT to do such things. old timer pretends to consider the obvious points, while his glasses rest on the table

    they Illegally patrolled land in wisconsin-they actually were carrying military weapons and went around in disguise-- the protestors were arrested Oldtimer --- none of the guards were-- Yet

    something tells me, they'll be powers that be- As visionary are you are...

    The tactical Response Team in NW Wisconsin is almost as equipped as the -- security guards are... Was there an Attack - the powerful Protestor lobby kept from the newspaper as i understand it-- so far a loon tried loosening a nut on a bridge...lol

    Just say-- I support republican leadership it dont matter why ...

    thats EXACTLY what your opinion says...

  19. Thundercloud
    Report Abuse
    Thundercloud - July 10, 2013 7:18 pm
    No criminal acts committed warranted heavily armed militia.
  20. old timer
    Report Abuse
    old timer - July 10, 2013 6:13 pm
    If the criminal acts of the protestors hadn't been committed in the first place, they likely wouldn't have had to hire security in the first place.
  21. Thundercloud
    Report Abuse
    Thundercloud - July 10, 2013 4:51 pm
    The mafia corporation's private soldiers are illegal. What other state laws will they ignore until caught?
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Follow The Chippewa Herald

Search local business directory

Hint: Enter a keyword that you are looking for like tires, pizza or doctors or browse the full business directory.



Will you change your eating habits because of the widespread bird flu?

View Results

Featured Businesses