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  • Private law enforcement/police

    At work today my boss was talking about private law enforcement. I didn’t think much about it, just that he was a wanbe cop. What he explained to me was, security officers working as police officer on private property. They are able to perform traffic stops, searches, and have full arrest powers. I did not know or believe it and decided to do some research. I read a lot of articles and found a lot of information.

    “With the sleeve patch on his black shirt, the 9mm gun on his hip and the blue light on his patrol car, he looked like an ordinary police officer as he stopped the car on a Friday night last month. Watt works, though, for a business called Capitol Special Police. It is one of dozens of private security companies given police powers by the state of North Carolina -- and part of a pattern across the United States in which public safety is shifting into private hands” (Washington post link below)
    I am not 100% sure how I feel about this, on one hand it’s more eyes and ears on the street which in turn should bring crime down also it would cut down on response times for citizens. On the other, the less training and experience could cause problems like over aggressiveness, improper search and seizure, and citing/arresting for incorrect crime/traffic offence. All of these down sides could present themselves with a full time law enforcement agency. Although I would think it would be far less prevalent.

    Another down side is
    “Lisa Thurau-Gray, director of the Juvenile Justice Center at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, said private police "are focusing on the priority of their employer, rather than the priority of public safety and individual rights”(Washington post link below)
    This is the major issue I see in having private law enforcement. Money talks! When there is a multimillion dollar contract at stake the security company is going to do anything and everything to keep it.

    I was under the impression that there was federal and state laws (at lease Florida) preventing private law enforcement agencies. I do not agree with private police for the above reasons although it is possible to correct these issues. I am not really asking any question just posting a discussion topic. What are your views, did you know about this? Just some of the thing to talk about. I only cite on article that i read if you have any more post them.

    Link to washington post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...010100665.html

    Added question also posted below: I am starting to see how they work. I have a question to add has there been any issues like over aggressiveness, improper search and seizure, and citing/arresting for incorrect crime/traffic offence or anything else that would rasie a red flag, furthermore has there been any issues of them over steping the scope of training/powers given to them by the state or city? Also how do you feel about them, is it a good idea or bad?
    Last edited by stangspeed302; 03-18-2010, 08:38 PM. Reason: added a question posted below

  • #2
    If I'm not mistaken, North Carolina has a provision for "Company Police". That is to say that what we would normally consider security guards, can function as Police Officers, but only on the company property they are paid to protect. I'm certain there are far more ramifications to your very interesting question. Hopefully, one of our North Carolina colleagues can provide you with more information.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is very common here in South Carolina. Especially in areas with large gated communities. Hilton Head Island, SC is a great example of this. A large portion of the island is comprised of privately owned communities. Almost all of these communities operate their own security departments that act as municipal police departments with full police powers on the property for which they protect. The officers are not sworn and have no powers outside their property, however, they can make arrests, write traffic citations, take out arrest and search warrants, they preform traffic stops, and they attend criminal/traffic court just as any LEO does. The training they receive is mandated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and consists of short legals, defensive tactics, and firearms courses taught by in house certified instructers.

      My personal opinion... I think they can't replace sworn peace officers, however, they are a valuable tool to stopping property crimes. Understand also, most of these "departments" are in affluent areas where the crime rate is much lower compared to outside the communities. I worked for one of these departments for about two and a half years before becoming a sworn police officer in a big city. It did give me valuable experience in operating the radio, writing traffic citations, testifying in court, and general public contacts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here in New York City, private companies join the special patrolman program that is ran by the police dept. The training is state mandated and the BI is done by the police dept the same as a canidate for any other LEO position. Special Patrolman status(Peace Officer) is granted by the police dept to said company for its employees to function as LEOs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Would most likely be illegal in CA.....you must have sworn status to perform most LEO functions in this state.....
          The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

          "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

          "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

          Comment


          • #6
            Railroad police departments derive their authority from state laws, not federal. There is a federal law that gives railroad officers jurisdiction in other states as long as they are duly sworn in one state. To my recollection, some states do not authorize railroad police at all. In NC, railroad officers have broad jurisdiction by statute, but limit their actions to railroad specific issues in practice. They can enforce laws off of railroad property. Private police departments are more common than many people realize. Private universities frequently have police departments, for example. In NC private police officers must complete the minimum required training of any other police officer. They are commisioned through the state attorney general.

            Yes, we do have "contract" police departments. Not counting railroad and private university police officers, I have actually dealt with a special police officer once in over 20 years of police work. Charlotte uses a special police company for its "transit police", but those officers have no authority off of transit property, and no authority on buses on public roads (unless they have an agreement with the city, which to my knowledge they do not).

            Comment


            • #7
              Blargh,

              You are incorrect. Railroad LE have full peace officer powers in CA and other states, it is not limited.
              Free Deke O'Mally!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Deleted...
                Last edited by jd08; 09-30-2013, 02:33 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by stangspeed302 View Post
                  At work today my boss was talking about private law enforcement. I didn’t think much about it, just that he was a wanbe cop. What he explained to me was, security officers working as police officer on private property. They are able to perform traffic stops, searches, and have full arrest powers. I did not know or believe it and decided to do some research. I read a lot of articles and found a lot of information.



                  I am not 100% sure how I feel about this, on one hand it’s more eyes and ears on the street which in turn should bring crime down also it would cut down on response times for citizens. On the other, the less training and experience could cause problems like over aggressiveness, improper search and seizure, and citing/arresting for incorrect crime/traffic offence. All of these down sides could present themselves with a full time law enforcement agency. Although I would think it would be far less prevalent.

                  Another down side is This is the major issue I see in having private law enforcement. Money talks! When there is a multimillion dollar contract at stake the security company is going to do anything and everything to keep it.

                  I was under the impression that there was federal and state laws (at lease Florida) preventing private law enforcement agencies. I do not agree with private police for the above reasons although it is possible to correct these issues. I am not really asking any question just posting a discussion topic. What are your views, did you know about this? Just some of the thing to talk about. I only cite on article that i read if you have any more post them.

                  Link to washington post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...010100665.html
                  In Maryland they are called SPO's (Special Police Officers). I'm not too knowledgeable on their actual authority.

                  The reasoning behind their existence (at least in MD) is to be able to enforce the rules/policies of a particular establishment/community -- so in essence, yes, they focus on the needs of the employer. Similar mission as a security guard, except with more authority. For example, here in MD, Northrop Grumman employs SPO's to protect their property. These SPO's do not leave Northrop Grumman property and solely focus on the interests of the company and the companies assets.

                  I see your point on response times and the other things you mentioned, however SPO's would still be calling fully-certified police officers if some sort of criminal act occurs or if they make an arrest.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Same thing here in Pennsylvania. There are a ton of private communities near me and most of them have private security officers who patrol them. Most people who become security patrol officers either get it through their company or get an Act 120 and Act 235, by themselves. Act 120 is for police powers and an Act 235 is so you can carry a gun.

                    Things are very different up here in Pennsylvania then New York, ohhhh big time.
                    sigpic

                    I'm the gatekeeper, are you the keymaster?

                    Servicing what feels like one giant Mental Hospital......... going on 3 years.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am starting to see how they work. I have a question to add has there been any issues like over aggressiveness, improper search and seizure, and citing/arresting for incorrect crime/traffic offence or anything else that would rasie a red flag, furthermore has there been any issues of them over steping the scope of training/powers given to them by the state or city? Also how do you feel about them, is it a good idea or bad? (will edit main post to add question)
                      Last edited by stangspeed302; 03-18-2010, 08:37 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No such thing in GA. Either you're a licensed security guard that can make a private arrest just like anyone or you're a sworn LEO.

                        Affluent communities around here hire off duty LEOs and outfit them in a special neighborhood patrol car.... there are dozens of these outfits around Atlanta.

                        Here's one paid for by business owners in a section of Atlanta... http://www.midtownalliance.org/MB_overview.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Florida used to allow for private police. Most did away when municpal courts and constable offices were abolished in the late 70's. Only RR's (CSX and FEC) along with the Univ. Of Miami are the only true private police left in FL.
                          I don't answer recruitment messages....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by stangspeed302 View Post
                            I am starting to see how they work. I have a question to add has there been any issues like over aggressiveness, improper search and seizure, and citing/arresting for incorrect crime/traffic offence or anything else that would rasie a red flag, furthermore has there been any issues of them over steping the scope of training/powers given to them by the state or city? Also how do you feel about them, is it a good idea or bad? (will edit main post to add question)
                            Most of the problems i've seen are not from these "private police forces," but from private armed security such as the type you find at night clubs and truck stops. They have little to no training, and I've caught a few carrying without a state armed security license. They are supposed to qualify with their weapon annually, however, supposed is the key word. To be honest, the private department I previously worked for was just as professional and knowledgeable as the guys on my current squad. To be fair, several of them were retired police officers. Also, a few of them make more money than I make as a sworn police officer.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jd08 View Post
                              In KCMO, Security Officers obtain a commission from the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. A "Class A" commission allows them to detain for arrestable offenses on the city, state and federal level, perform searches, traffic stops etc. The restrictions are that a KCPD Officer must write all charges.
                              KCI Airport Officers are the exception.....they are allowed to do anything a KCPD Officer can do.....

                              I've got a few bro's that work there....and worked in the County the Airport is in....

                              Comment

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