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
CEO-APL IMAGING LLC
3077 McCall Drive, Suite 15
Atlanta, Georgia 30340
www.aplimaging.com (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".
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 aplimaging.com. (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.