By Jason Coutts
Oregon taxpayers are currently overpaying, to the tune of triple the cost, for police dogs. Further, the State uses, misuses, or bypasses the rules to shut-out local private canine small businesses. A citizen’s investigation into the matter reveals that the State gives false or misleading information in order to cover the misconduct.
In one year, the average amount the State of Oregon spent for three narcotics detection dogs is approximately $10,700.00 per dog. A total of approximately $32,100.00 was provided by the State of Oregon, to an out of state vendor, to purchase the three service dogs. Anyone can research the nominal national market value of a narcotic detection dog, which is approximately $4500 – $5500. This also reveals that the State of Oregon is paying a great deal more than national market average for the product they are receiving.
On the other hand, I charge $3500.00 per dog, for the same product. It is easy to see that three dogs at $3500 is $10,500, which is less than the average purchase price of one dog from the out of state vendor. Simple arithmetic shows that this would equate to a significant saving to the State of Oregon. In addition to this savings of approximately $21,600.00, the State of Oregon would also recover a portion of this amount through the State taxes I pay annually through my business.
I have previously offered to donate a narcotics detection dog to the OSP, but I never received a reply, so I guess the offer was refused. In the last year alone, I have donated (6) six dogs to various law enforcement departments that could not afford the purchase price of a dog. The donated narcotics detection dogs have been very productive in sniffs for narcotics, within their respective departments.
It is ironic that the State is supposed to give me a chance to bid, since I’m in the Oregon Procurement System, but the bidding process and/or the results of such process are simply ignored. State representatives have stated that since they like this particular vendor, they will continue to purchase through him. Other government entities are required to seek a minimum of three bids in order to initialize the purchase a law enforcement dog, but obviously this is not the case in Oregon.
During the course of my investigation, I have discovered that this vendor does not have a Drug Enforcement Agency License to legally store, handle, and utilize narcotics for the training of these law enforcement narcotics detection dogs. I checked for a DEA license, as according to the contract, which the vendor signed with the State of Oregon, he is mandated to possess the necessary licenses pertaining to the work. Being an expert in this field, I find that I cannot adequately train the dogs, without having access to the actual narcotic substances. It is necessary to insure the dog can accurately detect the odor of the narcotic substances which the animal is certified to detect. I pay the required annual fees, in order to continue to keep my license current, to provide the proper training aids necessary to produce quality law enforcement detector dogs. It all comes down to credibility for the purposes of Court.
The Oregon State police, DAS, purportedly through the procurement process, have given me false and inaccurate information, contained within e-mail communications. Initially, the information was that the agency had a” Sole Source” contract with the vendor in question. However, as I dug a bit deeper, the agency admitted that they did not have any contract with this vendor. As a result of my inquiries into the purchasing practices of the State of Oregon, they are no longer responding to my inquiries.
I acquired the records of these purchases through the use of ORS statues. When I received the records, they were accompanied by a letter from our DOJ stating “we deny your petition as moot”
Now I take this to mean that the subject of over-spending of funds, at least in this case, is not open for discussion. Also contained within the packet of information I received from the State of Oregon, was an e-mail from the inter- office communication stating:
From: Carla Ploederer
To: Mouery, Edwards
Date: 3/29/2007 5:19:38 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Memorandum
Ed, with this information, Burton will draft a letter for my signature as the DPO. However, I would like you to review it before I send it out to Oregon K9 Consulting.
Furthermore, Burton will use your information to petition Das State Procurement Office for a “Sole Source” designation for Fred Helfers. This is a formal process that Dagmar did not do. With such information in our file, we will have documentation authenticating that procuring drug dogs from Fred Helfers is legitimate “sole source” procurement. By doing this, we won’t have to worry about another vendor challenging our procurement process, DAS has validated Cedar home Kennels as a “sole source” vendor for OSP’s drugs and any protest received from another vendor would be denied.
Thank you for you patience and understanding.
According to this communication, in order to prevent this agency having to accept bids and possibly receiving a equivalent or superior product, at a reduced cost, they will instead bypass the process and award a “Sole Source” Contract to the out of state vendor, thereby insuring that any other vendor will be unable to offer a competitive bid on making available a narcotics detection dog. It should be noted that any narcotics detection dog, when purchased through a bid award process, must be trained to meet any and all specifications the agency would require, which removes any argument that the dog may not meet the standards of the State of Oregon.
I have to wonder, if the State of Oregon has bypassed me, as well as any other law enforcement K9 trainers located within the State; what other in-state vendors and small businesses are being bypassed and not allowed to participate in the State’s Procurement process?
My State Representative had a meeting with the Superintendent of OSP and was told this incident is currently under investigation, another way of saying I cannot talk to you because of an investigation. I think they just want me to go away. It is your right to ask for information, but remember you can also go on the black list. Also, be aware that members of our State government may attempt to disguise these improper actions by “fixing it” as the email above tends to reveal.
During this writing of this letter, I have been contacted the so called investigation by the DOJ, it will be concluded this week. State investigating the state, this ought to prove interesting.