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Bad Security Job Stops Affect Police Application?


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  • Bad Security Job Stops Affect Police Application?

    Hey all,

    I'm currently getting background investigated by a couple different local agencies here in PA. For the moment, however, I work at a local department store as undercover security. Earlier today at work, I made an apprehension on two individuals who I was 100% sure had stolen, but apparently, I was somehow mistaken and they had a receipt for the merchandise. I followed proper protocol, reported the incident, released the gentlemen as soon as I realized my mistake (they were detained for approx. 2 minutes total) with profuse apologies, they left in seemingly good humor. They were not handcuffed, I did not physically touch them in any way, I simply declared my status as security and asked to see their bags. They were very cooperative.

    Regardless, policy is to discipline me for my mistake, which I understand and take responsibility for. While they have yet to officially let me know what the verdict is, generally for a first-time offense where proper steps were followed it's a written warning and you must take a remedial training class.

    Once I know specifically what my punishment will be, I plan to call the departments I applied to and let them know what happened. My first question is, would this be the proper course of action?

    My second question is, how big of a deal would it be? Is it enough to get them to rethink my application? I've never had a problem at this job before, never been fired from a job, and only written up once as a civilian at a high school job as an ice cream scooper (for improperly cleaning the floor) and once in the military for being late coming off a 96 hour liberty.

    Thanks for your help.
    You, you, and you: Panic. The rest of you, come with me.

  • #2
    Seeing as how I have been an LP investigator for 4 years now and had more than one "bad stop," I believe that it is appropriate for me to answer this question as best I can. Short answer to your question of should this affect your status.....No. That being said, like everyone else will tell you here, every department is different. What were the circumstances of the bad stop, if you don't mind me asking. You have to understand that the company is going to protect their ASSets first and foremost. That is why there is soooooo much red tape involved with detaining anyone. The thing that you have to learn is that if you are in this line of work long enough....YOU WILL....make a bad stop. Don't worry about the actual detainment long as you didn't chase this guy down the road and bulldog him into the side of a buick, you were acting in the capacity of protecting the company's assets. Even though, it was a non productive stop, you are protected for "reasonable detainment" under merchant's laws, which I believe apply to every state.<---Don't quote me on this, but that's how it is in SC.
    When I was going through the process with one of the police agencies, my BI called me one day and asked, "you're past employer said that you were a great worker, but you recently had a disciplinary file put in on you. what's the deal with that." I then began to explain that it was due to a "bad stop." I only got about 10 words of an explanation out of my mouth when he interrupted me and said, "what, did the guy dump on you or something?" I told him, "yes." He then stated, "Oh, so that's all that it was? That's kind of a mandatory thing nowadays isn't it? Don't worry about it. No sweat."
    And that was the end of that conversation. I would suggest being honest and letting the chips fall where they may. Don't make excuses for what happened and don't place blame. Simply explain what happened and be honest. In my oh so humble opinion, it shouldn't be a big deal. Just don't let your BI find out on his own.

    P.S. Those bad stops are awkward as hell aren't they?? Keep your head up and be honest. You should be fine.
    Last edited by redding; 08-16-2008, 08:59 PM.
    The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there... and still on your feet.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply! What happened was, a manager called and said two gentlemen had attempted to leave the building carrying an armful of merchandise. When she confronted them, they turned back into the building. I picked them up on cameras, saw them select another couple pieces of merchandise, and walk to the back corner of a secluded area with it. They went behind a fixture where there was no camera coverage on their hands, I could only see their heads. When they emerged, they had two full bags. I called my Director who was off that day for approval to make the stop, explained to him the details, and was approved. The other detective with me also said, and I quote, "They definately stole." Pretty cut and dry, right?

      Well, what none of us realized was, there's a register back in that corner that the camera can't see. That register for the past 6 months has been inactive and unused. In fact, the way it's wired the fire inspectors told us to dismantle and remove it because it's a fire hazard. Since there was a sale today, the department's manager had it turned on and manned, something they failed to mention to the security department. Thusly, the gentlemen went back in the corner out of sight and paid for the items.

      That's about the jist of it.

      P.S. Just about the most awkward thing ever. And I felt like a total idiot afterwards. All the good things I've done for the company feel like they got washed away in an instant. One of the worst feelings in the world, I might say.
      You, you, and you: Panic. The rest of you, come with me.


      • #4
        Well it sucks that your "Director" told you to make the stop and then you got burned. The thing that you have to understand is that when it comes right down to it, it is YOUR call as to make the stop or not, regardless of what the director or the other detective says. One thing to learn is to NEVER let someone intimidate (or talk you into) making a stop. The rule of thumb that you should know in LP is, "If you didn't see it, it DID NOT happen."
        I say chalk it up to a lesson learned. Just remember those 5 steps will never prove you wrong. I know that sometimes, the 5 steps aren't exactly practical in all situations, but if you definitively DO see all 5 steps then you can't go wrong. Seems to me that you completely missed numbers 3 and 4. Trust me, it's MUCH easier to say to your peers, "I let it walk because I wasn't 100% sure," than it is to say those dreaded words, "Sir/Ma'am, I'm terribly sorry for the inconvienance." When it's all said and done, it's YOUR BUTT AND YOUR BUTT ALONE that's on the line. Be careful out there. Shoplifters are getting much, much bolder and dangerous. No amount of clothing, CD's or goods of any kind are worth getting hurt over. Just like police work will be for you, ALWAYS watch their hands and ALWAYS come home safely to your family EVERY NIGHT no matter what. Have fun and good luck in the hiring process.
        The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there... and still on your feet.


        • #5
          Absolutely, I know exactly where I went wrong and I won't make that same mistake twice. I just got overzealous and a little too aggressive with it. Should've let it walk, but I was riding high from a couple real recent big cases and I was feeling like I could do no wrong.

          Well, like you said, lesson learned. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping the BI's don't non-recommend me over it.
          You, you, and you: Panic. The rest of you, come with me.


          • #6
            The only person who never made a mistake is the same person who never attempted anything. Screw ups happen. Under the circumstances you described I'm not 100% certain you made one. Are you out of the running for an LE job? Absolutely not. Give your BI a "heads-up" on the deal. Further advise him/her if any disciplinary action is taken against you. I don't see it adversely affecting your application at all. Hang in there, and good luck.


            • #7
              I've never worked LP, but I have many years behind the badge. With what you explained I don't see anything wrong. The disciplinary actions are there to keep the company off the hook for a lawsuit. From what you explained you had enough to talk to the person, nothing more. Since that is all you did I wouldn't worry about it. If I was written up for ever encounter I had with people on the streets I thought had done something, but in reality hadn't, I would have been fired a long time ago.
              But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

              For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.


              • #8
                Hey, at least you didn't taze a guy in the back of the head...
                The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

                I Am the Sheepdog.

                "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
                that we are all that stands between
                the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks



                • #9
                  Originally posted by jchughes05 View Post
                  Hey, at least you didn't taze a guy in the back of the head...
                  Jeez man I said I was sorry! Can we just drop it now?
                  Don't tase me bro!!


                  • #10
                    I don't think you did anything wrong except IF YOU DIDN'T SEE IT, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. That was drummed into me when I did LP many years ago. Asking someone for a receipt and everything is fine, is not really detaining someone, you are just making certain they got what they paid for.
                    Have you ever gone into Wal Mart- They check EVERYONES receipt at the door. Sometimes they have a door guard at Target. I doubt you will be disqualified or blemished for this. You did not handcuff, you did not ( from your posts) accuse them of stealing specific merchandise.
                    However hindsight is 20/20. Did I make a bad stop doing LP. Yep. Do most store detectives who worked more than 2 years have a bad stop? YES!!.
                    I know a guy that jammed people up against a car, badge in their face screaming at them that they stole. Cuffed them, brought them to the security office to inquire about their nice new jackets. Turns out they bought them at JC Penney and we did not even sell those jackets. I swear I was not involved in that stop. The store got sued, we all got retrained, and the Detective got fired. He's working construction last I saw of him.
                    Just remember, if you did not see it, it did not happen. If the shoe manager says someone stole shoes and you did not see it, they might get a free pair of shoes today but they will be back tomorrow and then they will get caught.


                    • #11
                      Dont worry about it. It all worked out. You didnt beat the crap out of someone. You just stopped them and they gave you a receipt and you let them go.

                      I have done worse as a cop than that. I once stopped a guy for an expired LP registration. In Texas you have a 5 WORKING day grace period for you LP registration. Well it was the 6th day but not the 6th working day. I had forgotten all about the working day part. Well i stopped him and made a dope arrest out of it. Well the detectives dropped charges because it was a bad stop. It happens. I didnt get punished for it in anyway but if you are as active as i am you will make bad stops. Its just the law of averages.


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