Texas Southmost College Seeks Firm to Keep Students Safe.
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 10:15 pm
By Melissa Montoya The Brownsville Herald
The Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees came close to leaving students on campus without security services after failed attempts to negotiate security with the University of Texas at Brownsville.
According to Chet Lewis, vice president for finance and administration at TSC, because of the close proximity of the college to UTB, the college’s administration wanted to reach an agreement with the university to use the UTB security services.
“During the summer we had some conversations with the UT System and some representatives of UTB and we went through some different prices and scenarios and we kind of went back to the board and kind of ended up hitting an impasse as to the pricing,” Lewis said.
A second round of negotiations also failed to deliver results, he added. At this point, TSC administrators were moving toward starting a search for a security firm to provide college security.
According to Lewis, because of a call from the Southern Assoc-iation of Colleges and Schools on approximately the first day of classes letting TSC President Lily Tercero know an application needed to be submitted to the SACS Commission on Colleges, the college’s resources were diverted to accomplish the SACS project.
“When we finished up the SACS work, we had a conversation and we touched base with UT System to see if we could extend services a little bit longer,” Lewis said.
But the two administrations could not achieve an agreement and security services from the university would end on Friday, he added.
“This put us in a situation where we needed to make sure we had a secure environment for our students,” Lewis said.
A statement by a UT System spokeswoman said security services provided by UTB were set to end Sept. 1, but were extended to Sept. 20 to “allow TSC more time for transition.”
“The University of Texas System has policies and rules that govern policing and security on UT campuses. Services were offered to TSC per those standards until TSC could organize its own security service,” Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said. “Those services were not accepted due to cost. UT does not have the option of scaling back security services to save money, as security measures must meet the UT System standard.”
Because of the lack of time, Lewis said that TSC could not put in a request for bid proposals from security firms, but the TSC administration contacted some firms.
The college chose Brownsville-based security firm American Investigations Security International, one of the only companies that could immediately begin providing security services for the Friday deadline, Lewis said.
The recommendation Lewis proposed to the board was to keep AISI for a 30-day contract and renewal while the college submits a proper request for bid proposals, Lewis said.
“This is a situation that kind of emerged after we were not able to come to any agreement with UTB,” TSC President Lily Tercero told the board.
“It was kind of an emergency,” she added.
Board Secretary Juan “Trey” Mendez said he would make the motion because “we don’t have a choice.”
However, no board member seconded the motion toward a vote.
After a lengthy executive session behind closed doors, during which pending real estate issues with the city of Brownsville were slated for discussions, Tercero asked the trustees to reconsider the security recommendation.
The board then approved it.
After the meeting, Mendez said he was willing to approve the original recommendation, but some of the board members were concerned that security personnel would not be armed.
“It was clear that we needed some security personnel on campus and my concern was the safety of the students so I was willing to approve it as is, but apparently I was the only one,” he said.
Mendez said because the motion passed with the caveat of armed personnel, students would be more secure.
Mendez said he prefers having more security options for proposals, but understands why choices were limited this time.
“Considering that the reason we were put in this position was because of UT Brownsville administration not willing to work with us on sharing campus police, I think that’s why we were put in this position,” Mendez said. “So I understand where administration was coming from as far as having to do it last minute.”
SAFE & SECURE: Security Firm Head Receives Top SBA Honor
April 07, 2011 9:05 PM
By STEVE CLARK, The Brownsville Herald
Mulling the reason for his company’s success, Daniel B. Flores, president and CEO of American Investigations & Security International, says he couldn’t have done it without an excellent and dedicated staff — though he credits his parents for teaching him the meaning of hard work and the value of education.
Had it not been for mom and dad,I don’t know where I’d be today," he says. More than two decades ago, Flores left behind a lengthy career in law enforcement to launch American Investigations, which, among other things, provides security services for clients such as Walmart and automobile dealerships such as Tipton Ford and Tipotex Chevrolet — Flores’ original clients.
Tipton Ford is my original and oldest client," he says. "They gave me an opportunity 21 years ago. Mark Roberts at Tipotex Chevrolet is my second oldest client. Those guys helped us build the foundation."
American Investigations now has 60 to 70 security officers in the field at any given time, and roughly 200 officers total. The firm handles security for 22 Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio."Just yesterday I got a call from Walmart," Flores says. "We got awarded another store — a distribution center — outside Laredo. That would make it number 23 with those guys."
As a licensed training academy, AISI is able to do its own training in house. Levels of training vary. The guy in the crisp uniform and AISI vehicle keeping an eye on the Walmart parking lot or the car dealership is a Level 1 or 2. Their job is to "deter and report," Flores says, not chase down criminals. These officers, who are unarmed, make up the majority of the AISI security force. Level 3 and 4 officers carry weapons. Within the force is a small, elite cadre of weapon-carrying Level 4 officers who make up what’s known as the "Safety Response Team."
The firm’s SRT officers worked with the Secret Service to secure Air Force One during a visit by President Bill Clinton in 1998; handled an appearance by Vice President Al Gore at South Texas Community College; and worked with the Department of Public Safety during Gov. Rick Perry’s 2002 visit to the Port of Brownsville. AISI also works with national security firms to ensure the safety of executives who travel to Mexico.
"We’re the firm here in South Texas that takes them into Mexico," Flores says. "We’ll take them to Reynosa. We’ll take them to Matamoros, wherever they need to go. We don’t advertise it. We keep our business very quiet. My job is to keep you safe."
AISI also has a lucrative private investigations division — usually workman’s comp, accident or infidelity claims. It’s a facet of the business that GPS technology has made a lot easier, Flores admits.
"On our infidelity claims that come to us, we’ve done away with following the person," he says. "That has changed because of technology. We used to follow people around for hours, then we would lose them. You’re going to blow your cover pretty soon or you’re going to lose them."
Flores, whose company also offers patrol and civil process services and does about $3 million a year in revenue, was chosen as 2011 Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration’s Lower Rio Grande Valley District. He’ll receive the award at an SBA luncheon April 28 at the University of Texas-Pan American.
Flores says his interest in law enforcement began with his uncle Joe Brewster, chief of detectives of the Laredo Police Department in the 1960s, who during trips to the family farm would fire up his police cruiser’s siren to the delight of the children and the consternation of the roosters. But Flores — who as a child worked as a migrant farm worker alongside his parents — lays the credit for his success in life squarely at the feet of his mother and father.
"At the end of the school year we’d take off and we’d go to Michigan, Colorado," Flores says. "We went to Montana, Indiana. I’ve picked cucumbers, onions, grapes, tomatoes, cherries, and strawberries. I was up at 5:30 in the morning with mom and dad working the strawberry field. It was very hard work."
But when a school bus would pass by whatever field they were working, Flores’ father would make the driver stop so his children could get on." He had no idea where we were going, but he knew it was a school bus going to school," Flores says. "He’d put us on a bus and I’d go to school and I’d register my brother and sister. Then he’d be waiting for us, because he knew the bus was going to bring us back."
SBA Small Business Award Luncheon
This honor recognizes a small business owner for their hard work, innovative ideas and service to the community, all leading to success in business.The Small Business Person of the Year award will be given to Daniel B. Flores, owner of American Investigations & Security International. Mr. Flores has been an exemplary business leader serving the local community for over 20 years. He started his investigations and security company serving Fortune 500 companies. Today, American Investigations & Security International employs over 200 security officers statewide.
New Security Firm Patrols McAllen's Bus Station.
April 07, 2010 7:38 PM
McALLEN, TX — The security guard paused at the bus ticket counter, scanning the line to see if something was amiss.Everything seemed in order, so he continued on with a slight limp past the counter, through an employees' only door and down a private tunnel leading outside to where passengers boarded buses McAllen’s Central Station on Wednesday afternoon.
In late 2009 a security guard at the station was arrested, accused of stealing a wallet as his boss, former Alton Police Chief Baldemar Flores, was embroiled in his own public controversy. Since then the city has swapped Flores’ Rapid Security for the Brownsville-based American Investigations and Security International and after three months, the new company is performing well, said Mike Perez, McAllen’s city manager. “No complaints,” Perez said. “We’ve had no issues with them at all.” City commissioners awarded the security contract to American Investigations in early January, four months after McAllen began a search to replace Rapid Security. While American Investigations was not the lowest bidder, they scored the highest on the rankings, according to commission documents.
The city expects to spend just over $658,000 on the firm this year. The lowest proposal was from San Antonio’s Vets Securing America, according to the documents. Perez said American Investigation scored highest because they had all their paperwork with the state in order and because they had sufficiently documented background checks of their officers and the company’s leadership.
American Investigations is owned by Brownsville’s Daniel Flores, chairman of the Brownsville Crime Stoppers board, who was also honored earlier this year by the city’s chamber of commerce. Flores did not return a message seeking comment. He has owned the company for more than 20 years, according to the city. The company’s staff of 150 guards is large enough to accommodate McAllen, which uses from a half dozen to more than 15 security guards at the city’s parks, the convention center and the bus station among other places, Perez said.
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Chamber Committee Chair member recognized for leadership!
Angela R. Burton: March 20, 2010
Brownsville Crime Stoppers
Daniel Flores, American Investigations & Security International
On Wednesday, February 17th, the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce recognized its annual transition of leadership during the 2008-2009 Annual Banquet held at the Holiday Inn. Past Chairman Juan Armando Recio of Falcon International Bank officially passed the gavel to Barry Goodrich of Delphi Delco Electronics de Mexico, S.A. de C.V..
The Chamber's Annual Banquet honors those directors and committee chairmen who truly care about our community and prove it through involvement and outstanding service. More than 280 city officials and community business leaders attended the event.
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