Monday, February 27, 2012

CMPD Officers Order Department Yearbooks Six Months Later Still Nothing

Cedar Posts was aware that CMPD Officers were required to have their photos taken in August and September of last year for a department yearbook. We didn't give it much thought, Police Department and Fire Department year books like the one below are still common place at some departments, although Charlotte hasn't had one in years.

What was odd was the CMPD Officers were told that the photos were required, even though the purchase of "optional packages" was voluntary, officers were told they "Had to Have" their photos taken. As you might expect many of the officers paid for the extra photos and a copy of the year book, many paying $100.00 or more to a company called APL Imaging out of Atlanta Georgia.

That was August and now its nearly March. Cedar Posts August entry Mandatory CMPD Yearbook Photos Create Uproar in Rank and File explored this concern and even included a response from FOP Lodge 9 Vice President Mark Michalec:

"There have been a number of complaints brought forward to FOP Lodge #9 regarding the mandatory participation for the CMPD yearbook. We are obtaining information on this issue and plan on discussing it with the appropriate personnel within CMPD."

When CMPD Officers asked about the year books back in November they were told "soon", but soon came and went and now its later and still no year books or photos. Now, many of the rank and file feel they have been stiffed.

So Cedar Posts started to ask some questions. Turns out APL Imaging started in business last March. The company web site is ..... well pretty lame for a high end yearbook company. Nothing but some stock photos and some incomplete pages and dead links. We found no information at the Atlanta BBB, simply that they are not accredited with the Atlanta Georgia BBB.

Phone calls to the toll free number (888-598-7972) for the company which might ring in Atlanta or anywhere and emails to the company have gone unanswered.

Even more concerning is this thread from a group of Army Reservists from Tennessee apparently hired the same company last summer. The 230th Engineers have the following posts on their facebook page:

"For those that ordered pictures at Annual Training in Lavinia and still have not received them please call Anthony at the number below or email him to inquire about your pictures. Some Soldiers have received them, but I believe the majority have not. I tried to take care of this matter prior to leaving FT. Bliss, but this company has been very difficult to work with, and it's even more difficult to take care of it while being over here. CPT Grimco

Anthony LoGalbo
3077 McCall Drive, Suite 15
Atlanta, Georgia 30340 (Cedar Posts has noted that the APL Imaging web site may be infected with some sort of virus therefore the automatic link to the site has been disabled)

"Has anybody had any trouble getting in touch with this company? I've called them the past 2 days and cannot get anyone to answer a phone. I have emailed them but hadn't received anything back. October 25, 2011 at 12:42pm"

"I have had no luck either. The phone rings twice and goes silent. I am afraid we have been ripped off. Sad they would do that to military. October 25, 2011 at 2:08pm"

"Yes very sad. I still have not heard anything from email. The phone does the same to me also. I'm going to see if they have a facebook page. October 25, 2011 at 2:18pm"

"Let us know if there is another way to try to contact them.
October 25, 2011 at 2:56pm"

There are no posts after November so it is hard to say if the Reservists ever got their photos.

CMPD command staff don't seem to have any answers and an email to CMPD's Rob Tufano was still without a reply at of 5:00 this afternoon.

What seems odd is that CMPD would contract with a company that has been in business less than six months, that has no track record and is apparently a "one man band".

Cedar's Take:

While Cedar Posts doesn't want to cause alarm it sure doesn't look very promising.

When rumors first started that Chief Monroe was requiring all officers to have their photos taken for a yearbook, the thought was that a well established company like Acclaim Press which has produced yearbooks for DC Metro would be the one hired to provide the work.

One look at the Acclaim Press web site which is here and you get a sense that the company is serious about what they do. Not so much at APL Imaging which is (Cedar Posts has noted that the APL Imaging web site may be infected with some sort of virus therefore the automatic link to the site has been disabled)

If anyone has any information about the status of the yearbooks or if anyone has a contact for APL Imagining, how about posting it in the comment section so our guys can get either a refund or the promised photos.


Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder who did the proper bidding process for this company?

Was the key person related to someone in the CMPD?

Are the other bids on file?

Let's see the other bids.

Bet they might be shredded or non-existent.

Or maybe someone put in a statement that this was a special talent that only this company could fill. That happens, too.

Anonymous said...

not suggesting this is in any way what is going on here, but...If this turns out to be a fraudulent company, bold enough to scam police officers in bulk, my big concern would be that they have photos, names and signatures for anyone that ordered a book.

This puts officers at risk for other potential issues. Regardless, the department needs to refund anyone that made a purchase

Anonymous said...

We received an email from Medlock a couple of weeks ago expressing concern that the company has not met its end of the bargain. Was kind of funny actually, since the required participation email was from him too! Talk about eating crow! I ordered one for keepsake purposes and photos for Christmas presents. (maybe next Christmas). I know I am out of $129.00 and not freaking happy about it. I wonder since this company is out of Georgia, if there is any connection with the chiefs Macon connection. Just a thought??

Anonymous said...

All valid points.

The bidding process, the security concerns (which have been raised here and by citynewswatch) and the possible scam of money that should have been investigated to begin with.

please someone send in medlock's memo. again, this guy's in charge of DNC2012 for Homeland Security issues? and so is monroe?

the best we can hope is it's a money scam.

guess there's the possibility they're just slow.

has anyone at CMPD notified anyone that there MAY be a security issue? is anyone even investigating yet?

Anonymous said...

I guess this is what is called "to protect and serve." Gee that makes me feel safe.

Anonymous said...

The majority of the yearbooks have not been received.

After all the negative press on here and Citynewswatch, they made participation voluntary halfway through the photo schedule.

I too wonder how the bidding was done and what connections the company has to people here.

Anonymous said...

FYI: My antivirus (Avira) hit on a worm when I went to the company's website. Cedar, you might want to scrap the link.

Anonymous said...

I just read this and want to know what the heck is going on? I'm not a CMPD officer but if this company is ripping people off then why isn't someone in Chief Monroe's office doing anything? Why does this police chief treat the guys on the street like dirt?

Anonymous said...

is monroe investigating this and has he contacted his homeland security associates just in case?
why is there no effort to find this guy and CMPD officers' money?
Why is there no effort to find the original photos of the LEO's which could be used for other things.

What other information is available... like records of 500 officers from the Police Academy containing enough information to make a fake badge and impersonate a police officer? Hmm. Maybe medlock the expert should get on this. chief monroe owes all officers and the general public an explanation

Anonymous said...

Just shameful that Chief Monroe would do this to our officers.

Anonymous said...

This really troubles me, for all the people who sing the praises of Chief Monroe for lowering crime in Charlotte I was Bull Crap!

Even if there wasn't a national trend towards lower crime stats and even if the chief wasn't in on the fix his ethics are so poor that you have to ask yourself is it worth it?

You know he has some kickback from the guy in Atlanta after all Charlotte has two very well known yearbook/photo companies that have be doing this sort of thing for years.

Anonymous said...

so, if the pictures are "in" that means someone has had contact. why haven't they been arrested for fraud? questioned? documented? identified?

where is their phone number that's not cut off? anyone tell the miliatry unit that's waiting, too?

again, great job rodney

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mobile (AL) Fire-Rescue and we have had a very difficult time getting a response from this company as well. After a lengthy delay we did finally receive the pictures that were ordered but we have yet to receive a yearbook from them and it has been a year now. We sent things to them certified mail and they have been returned because no one at the business received them and never went to the post office to claim them!
The BBB in Atlanta have apparently received numerous complaints but the company is not a member of the BBB so little good does it do.

Nunya said...

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was told the same about mandatory participation for the photos for the yearbook even if you didn't want to buy any pictures (that was in March 2011)......the picture & yearbook packages were $150 each and it took awhile to get the pictures and were told that the yearbook would be shipped directly to our home address. Almost 2 years later & no yearbooks (about $270,000.00 worth) and our FOP looking into it but it appears the company filed for bankruptcy! We were told we were out the money as no recourse due to bankruptcy.

Emily Theis said...

Hello All, My partner and I had the..pleasure.. of working with APL Imaging to complete a yearbook project for our Sheriff's Office's 175th Anniversary (in 2011, mind you.) We received portraits in a semi-timely manner, but as for the yearbooks- completely different story. We're looking to get in direct contact with any agency who have had issues with this company, as we are looking into our options. Please give us a call (we work afternoon hours) at 630-444-3430 and ask for either Nina or Emily. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated. Thankyou!

Unknown said...

I just received a call from a Deputy in northern Illinois who happened to come upon this blog and found Emily's post. I want to get a little more information out there so that we can make sure no other Law Enforcement Agencies, or Military groups have to deal with the awful experience we have dealt with. They were told, as we were, that APL Imaging has filed for bankruptcy and will not receive their yearbooks. The Deputy I spoke with will be pushing to get the bankruptcy letter from Anthony P. Logalbo, and if they don't, I believe they will go the legal route for theft of services. I know for a fact that this company has not filed yet. I cannot go into details at this point about how I know that.
Any agencies that see this blog, please contact myself or Emily at the Kane County Sheriff's Dept. 630-444-3430. We work second shift Mon-Thurs and would be more than happy to talk about everything we went through. Our employees were out 7 grand and we had to have it printed through another company that thankfully, did a beautiful job.
Our nightmare is over, but I want to help prevent any other agency from dealing with this. The scam appears to be this: Anthony comes to the facility, does the portraits, takes all the orders for the packages/yearbooks and returns home. He then sends out the packages, which for some agencies, it turned out well. Our dept-not so much. We had packages that had missing pictures, lines down the middle of the large portrait, terrible airbrushing, broken frames...etc. Most of the errors were corrected and we received the new orders, but not by the time promised. Then: The content is assembled and sent to APL, and it seems that they basically just frustrate the agency until they just give up. Anthony gets the money and never has to deliver anything past the portraits. Emily and I spent 7 months making this book and when we handed over our final draft, it took them months to even start working on it always claiming that there were software issues or personnel issues. We finally received our proof but after a few more months of no contact, Anthony finally had the balls to call us and tell us we were not getting our books.
In a nutshell, that was what we dealt with. The list of complaints goes on and on though....
Please help us stop this.

Anonymous said...

The Baton Rouge Fire Department was scammed by these people also. I am personally out the price of a yearbook & photo. Photos were taken in April of 2010.