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Florida - just what are 'watchmen'?

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  • Florida - just what are 'watchmen'?

    I am all about the questions at the moment! The other thread re: refusing to assist, a piece of terminology came up from someone's post from Florida statutes:

    (http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2014/843.08)

    843.08 Falsely personating officer, etc.—A person who falsely assumes or pretends to be a sheriff, officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, officer of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, officer of the Department of Transportation, officer of the Department of Financial Services, officer of the Department of Corrections, correctional probation officer, deputy sheriff, state attorney or assistant state attorney, statewide prosecutor or assistant statewide prosecutor, state attorney investigator, coroner, police officer, lottery special agent or lottery investigator, beverage enforcement agent, or watchman, or any member of the Florida Commission on Offender Review and any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission, or any personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement, or a federal law enforcement officer as defined in s. 901.1505, and takes upon himself or herself to act as such, or to require any other person to aid or assist him or her in a matter pertaining to the duty of any such officer, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    What on earth is a 'watchman'? All the stuff I've found online seems to suggest it is an unofficial, rag-tag band of individuals who are a voluntary 'force' like a homeland defence. With this in mind, I can't work out how they've managed to be given various acknowledgements as a peace officer under Floridian law?

  • #2
    A watchman is an old fashioned word for security guard. A watchman is a person who guards or protects propertry, goods, etc. It is my understanding that all watchmen in Florida must be licensed by the state.

    Comment


    • #3

      Snarky comment of the day: Ask George Zimmerman - Florida's most famous 'neighborhood watchman'.

      The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

      The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

      ------------------------------------------------

      "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by VA Dutch View Post

        Snarky comment of the day: Ask George Zimmerman - Florida's most famous 'neighborhood watchman'.
        Actually, to the best of my knowledge, Zimmerman wasn't a licensed officer. Florida is one of the top 3 states in the country when it comes to actually training their security personnel. Florida also requires federal background checks,
        including fingerprints, before someone can actually be licensed. They are also working to make that system automated, and require officers to resubmit prints on a biannual basis, so that they can ensure that any officer arrested for any offense in any jurisdiction in the country will show up on their 'radar' so to speak.

        If you want to cite the actions of a security officer, you might want to take a look at Omar Mateen, who was in fact licensed, and probably very well trained, as he was a G4S Custom Protection Officer. He basically joined the other team, that guy. My understanding is that his family was against ISIS, and what they are doing in the Mid East. This is probably as much a shock to them as it is to the rest of us. The people who live in that region of the world have far more to fear from the 'caliphate' than the rest of us do, for certain.

        I still don't see how he made it through his Psyche eval, which is a requirement of joining G4S CPO. Seems the Dr's signature required on the form that is submitted to the state had someone's name on it who wasn't even in the state when he took the test. IF a Dr. did, in fact, administer the test, how would someone else's name get on the form? That's a real head scratcher.

        In some of their disciplines, G4S does certify on the .223 patrol rifle. They offer training to their officers for certain special duty assignments. I guess, given his mental state, that we should count ourselves lucky that he never made it into one of those teams. Whether or not he actually received the training on the weapons system is unknown, and by the state of things in their record keeping, I doubt very seriously if they could actually tell us the truth about it; if they themselves even know.

        Most of us are extremely dedicated to the profession, and realize the responsibility we have to 'Observe and Report' can and does avert disaster. Sometimes, it's the little things that make a big difference. We do our best to pass along the information as best we can, and allow those with more training and understanding of the situation to do what needs to be done. Bad apples like Mateen not only dishonor us by being derelict in their duties; in his case, he blatantly did treason and turned his weapons on those people without a second thought to the consequences. He also didn't hesitate to engage Law Enforcement Officers who were on duty there at the time. I think, if he were around today, that his only regret would be that he didn't inflict more damage than he did.

        Contrary to popular belief, the 2nd amendment is not about civil disobedience; in fact, it is just the opposite. Guys who do things like that are not heroes, they're villains, and we the people, all of us, are responsible to some degree to ensure that seditionist acts are not perpetrated on the general populace. OF course, in aligning himself with a belief system that wishes death to America, threatens to kill the POTUS, he makes it clear to us that his actions, and the reactions, are actions of the enemy. WE, as licensed officers, believe that petitioning the government for a redress of grievances should be conducted in a peaceful and lawful manner. We believe that the intent of his actions was to cause a general panic among the people, and that their ultimate goal is to seek to disarm us in the face of obvious enemy action. This is by definition a terrorist act. Conspiracy theorists aside, we believe that standing behind the government in quelling the disturbance is our duty. That means backing the government, and law enforcement, in the expedient disposition of those threats that would seek to threaten our peace, and prosperity.

        My condolences to the the victims of this tragedy. If I had only one question to ask them, it would be this:

        Would it be better to live under the threat of a regime that would kill you anyway?

        Comment


        • #5
          WTF had to dig hard for this necro post.
          Train for tomorrow, for you never know what it will bring to the fight.
          In the school of Policing, there is no graduation day.

          Arguing on the internet, is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that while you are getting dirty, the pig is actually enjoying it.
          Do Not Disturb sign should read, Already Disturbed Proceed With Caution.
          Even if the voices aren't real, They have some really good ideas.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by VA Dutch View Post

            Snarky comment of the day: Ask George Zimmerman - Florida's most famous 'neighborhood watchman'.
            Ya owe me a keyboard Dutch.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bpd303 View Post
              WTF had to dig hard for this necro post.
              From the crew down at Acme Contract Security Inc. Watchmen extraordinaire. That's French for, ain't we cool?

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry if I didn't answer the original question, but FS 843.08 states at the end of the paragraph:

                The term “watchman” means a security officer licensed under chapter 493.

                843.06 Neglect or refusal to aid peace officers.—Whoever, being required in the name of the state by any officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, police officer, beverage enforcement agent, or watchman, neglects or refuses to assist him or her in the execution of his or her office in a criminal case, or in the preservation of the peace, or the apprehending or securing of any person for a breach of the peace, or in case of the rescue or escape of a person arrested upon civil process, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

                There are only a couple of instances where a security officer may detain until law enforcement arrives, as in cases of trespass, and shoplifting or retail theft, and it needs to be stated in the post orders that we have the authority to do so. In those instances, a watchman may ask for assistance. Mostly, we're the 'detect, observe, deter' guys. Since we always report everything, it's redundant to add it. Even in firearms training, it's pretty much stated that we should avoid armed encounters to the best of our ability. Better to call the cavalry and have live witnesses instead of dead heroes. That there tombstone courage can get people dead and then no one is left to tell the LEOs anything. I'd like to be a team player, especially if it keeps me alive through my shift.

                Been a Security Officer licensed under 493 for about 12 years total, although not continuously. 6 of those years armed. Worked everything from Hospital to armored cars, and some special details. Never had to actually use any weapons, but there were a couple of close calls.

                Some guy tried twice to run me over one night. Over a traffic cone. He got away, but thankfully, the traffic cone was recovered.

                Some guy tried to kill a cop one night, and the manhunt ended up on my post. We heard someone hiding in the bushes, and he didn't respond to commands at first. When he finally did, he popped out like a jack in the box. Scared the living heck out of me. I never got the description of the guy, but he turned out to be some drunk sleeping it off, and didn't immediately wake up.

                The actual subject was caught about 50 yards away in the river, trying to make a swim for it, within the minute. Made me think, for certain. This was spring 2002, and the river was a hot area.

                I understand there's quite a difference between an active peace officer, and a 'watchman'. I am not the guy who needs convincing. Guys like that guy in the river; you convince him, I am good.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stretchman View Post
                  Sorry if I didn't answer the original question, but FS 843.08 states at the end of the paragraph:

                  The term “watchman” means a security officer licensed under chapter 493.

                  843.06 Neglect or refusal to aid peace officers.—Whoever, being required in the name of the state by any officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, police officer, beverage enforcement agent, or watchman, neglects or refuses to assist him or her in the execution of his or her office in a criminal case, or in the preservation of the peace, or the apprehending or securing of any person for a breach of the peace, or in case of the rescue or escape of a person arrested upon civil process, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

                  There are only a couple of instances where a security officer may detain until law enforcement arrives, as in cases of trespass, and shoplifting or retail theft, and it needs to be stated in the post orders that we have the authority to do so. In those instances, a watchman may ask for assistance. Mostly, we're the 'detect, observe, deter' guys. Since we always report everything, it's redundant to add it. Even in firearms training, it's pretty much stated that we should avoid armed encounters to the best of our ability. Better to call the cavalry and have live witnesses instead of dead heroes. That there tombstone courage can get people dead and then no one is left to tell the LEOs anything. I'd like to be a team player, especially if it keeps me alive through my shift.

                  Been a Security Officer licensed under 493 for about 12 years total, although not continuously. 6 of those years armed. Worked everything from Hospital to armored cars, and some special details. Never had to actually use any weapons, but there were a couple of close calls.

                  Some guy tried twice to run me over one night. Over a traffic cone. He got away, but thankfully, the traffic cone was recovered.

                  Some guy tried to kill a cop one night, and the manhunt ended up on my post. We heard someone hiding in the bushes, and he didn't respond to commands at first. When he finally did, he popped out like a jack in the box. Scared the living heck out of me. I never got the description of the guy, but he turned out to be some drunk sleeping it off, and didn't immediately wake up.

                  The actual subject was caught about 50 yards away in the river, trying to make a swim for it, within the minute. Made me think, for certain. This was spring 2002, and the river was a hot area.

                  I understand there's quite a difference between an active peace officer, and a 'watchman'. I am not the guy who needs convincing. Guys like that guy in the river; you convince him, I am good.


                  Looks like you're trying to convince someone. Personally, I couldn't care less.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Top flight security of the world Craig!
                    Where'd you learn that, Cheech? Drug school?

                    Comment


                    • #11

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                      • #12
                        Come on. You never seen a Watchman?


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Watchman is a historical name for a night policeman. The watchman were usually employed to watch over a city at night while the town marshal and/or town constable was asleep. They usually had peace officer powers and were also employed to watch out for fires as well. I would be cautious about using the term watchman to carry over to a security guard unless legislativley defined.

                          I have not looked over the statutes but it does appear that a poster advised that under that particular section that watchman is defined as a security guard. However, I would not carry that expectation over to another statute. I know that Florida did at one time employ night watchman in the 1800's over to the early 1900's.
                          That's what they do, it's a trailer park.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AvalancheZ71 View Post
                            Watchman is a historical name for a night policeman. The watchman were usually employed to watch over a city at night while the town marshal and/or town constable was asleep. They usually had peace officer powers and were also employed to watch out for fires as well. I would be cautious about using the term watchman to carry over to a security guard unless legislativley defined.

                            I have not looked over the statutes but it does appear that a poster advised that under that particular section that watchman is defined as a security guard. However, I would not carry that expectation over to another statute. I know that Florida did at one time employ night watchman in the 1800's over to the early 1900's.
                            ^^^^This.

                            "Watchman" is a historical remnant of common law times. Small towns, communities, or what we would call today a sub-division, often employed a "Watchman" instead of having a traditional police officer. Watchmen traditionally had minimal arrest authority, but kept the peace in these small communities by checking doors, watching the streets and alleys, and keeping an eye out for fire. If a watchman would detect a crime in progress they would summon the local sheriff or police.

                            In modern times, it's become synonmous with security guard, but its roots (and its statutory remnants) are referring to something that was slightly different. A watchman was a public sector position whereas security guard is a private sector type position.
                            \

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                            • #15



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