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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Pros And Cons Of Hiring Police Officers - 2047 words
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Pros and cons of hiring police officers to engage in private security workAbstractHiring police officers to perform private security work has positive aspects and potential pitfalls. Business owners vary in their opinion on hiring police officers. Liability and cost are reasons some prefer to hire private security guards or take other security measures. Other business owners prefer the training, professionalism, deterrence, and authority that come with hiring a police officer. Due to lawsuits involving off-duty police officers, the Courts have had to develop tests to determine when a moonlighting police officer is working under the authority of the private company or in the role of a peace officer.
Issues have arisen about the difference in police mentality and retail service. Some argue that police officers are not trained in the motto that the 'customer is always right'. Others believe additional training can bridge the gap. Hiring off-duty police officers is big business and a growing field that benefits the community and the officer.Pros and cons of hiring police officers to engage in private security work The employment of off-duty officers in private security is a big business. An estimated 150,000 law enforcement officers engage in private security work on off-duty hours, and their combined income reaches $1.8 billion annually
The combined revenue of secondary police officer employment exceeds that of the combined top four security companies in 1988 (Trimble 1993). There are many positive aspects of the program that benefit the community and the officer. But to some the positives aspects do not outweigh the negative consequences of hiring police officers. In this paper, I will discuss the positive and negative aspects of hiring police officers for private security details, as well as, my personal experience, case law, and the polices of different police departments. HIRING OFF-DUTY POLICE OFFICERSWhy would a company want to pay for a police officer to work a security detail at their store or facility? Police officers generally cost more to hire than a traditional security guard.
What are the advantages that justify the cost? First, let's define what is an off-duty police officer? Police are traditionally thought to be on-duty 24 hours a day. When officers are not actually working at the department, their law enforcement authority is in a type of reserve status. It is not necessary for an officer to be working the streets to invoke his police powers. Business and officers have taken advantage of this reserved status by hiring police for personal protection for their property and the latter to supplement their income. I have known business to hire officers to control crowds at a bar or large events, provide plain clothes surveillance or uniform presence in a shopping mall, escort a manager around to his different stores to make cash pickups, and provide a presence and deterrence against theft and robbery. For example, Hispanic grocery stores, particularly those that do checking cashing, carry lots of cash.
Nearly all Hispanics at the store I worked off-duty at paid for purchases in cash. Before the owner hired police officers, a gang of armed men robbed his store and several other Hispanic stores with in a months time. They made off with an average about $20,000 from each robbery. The night of the robbery, during the course of the initial investigation, the owner inquired about hiring a police officer at night to provide security. The average rate at that time was $20 per hour.
He wanted an officer from 6:00pm until he locked the store around 10:30pm. This security detail would be one officer in uniform seven days a week. The annual cost of the security detail would be $33,600. If having a police officer on site prevents two robberies a year, at $20,000 apiece, then the detail pays for itself. But how can you determine the effectiveness of the program? Well, at one point after the armed gang was caught, the owner thought about cutting back the detail to four days a week in order to save money.
I advised him that would not be wise because of the following reasons. First, numerous other robberies of Hispanic stores had occurred despite the gang's capture. All the stores that were hit did not have a police officer on site. Second, robbers will case the store and once they determined that an officer is not working that night they will be clear to come in and rob the store. He agreed that risk of being robbed on the days were officers were not on site was high enough to warrant continuing the detail seven days a week.
Its is part of the officer's role to advise the employer of security concerns and measures that he should be aware of. Something a security guard with limited training and experience might not be able to provide.POLICE OFFICER VERUS SECURITY GUARDI have already touched on some of the advantages of hiring police officers; here I will discuss these aspects in more detail. One big advantage police officers have over security guards is the power of arrest. The ability to take away someone's freedom and rights is a serious and powerful instrument. Not even the President of the United States has the power to directly take away someone's rights and freedom by arrest. A police officer can take immediate action in the event of a situation.
A security guard has a very limited scope of authority and in the event of a criminal action will need the assistance and authority of the police. I think the power of arrest is not the most significant advantage of hiring police officers. It's the power of presence and persuasion.A police officer in uniform will demand more respect from the general public than that of a security guard. A police officer standing at the door of a store or outside a club puts the patrons and criminals on notice that the law and government authority is close at hand. It is impossible to quantify the number of crimes that do not occur because a police officer is present at a particular location, but there are a number of example that support the notion.In St. Petersburg, Fl.
A shopping mall hired a guard service to have to security guards patrol the shopping center at a rate of $7.15 an hour. Robberies and shoplifting occurred regularly at the shopping center. The storeowners decided to contribute to a special fun to hire off-duty police officers to patrol on Fridays and Saturdays. Suddenly the crime rate decreased. Shoplifting was down and robberies no loner occurred. The owners elected to hire officers from 10am to 10pm everyday and fire the guard service. Pat Cowart, spokesperson for the owners of the shopping mall says, "The unarmed private security guards don't have the authority to do anything and the criminal know that." (Malcolm 1989). Minyard Food Stores has decided to hire off-duty police officers rather than private security guards for patrols in its stores.
Minyard executives decided that the modern criminal only respects the power of law enforcement officers, and that the unarmed guard has become obsolete. In addition the dangers of being sued by an employee, guard, or customer because of apparent negligence in not reducing security risks makes the added expense worthwhile. The retailer will use 230 officers over its 82 stores to provide security inside and out side the stores. 'The private guard is of no value to us anymore and we hire nothing but off-duty police officers,' stated Ben Rowe, Director of Risk Management for Minyard Foods (O'Leary 1996).In Snellville, Georgia, police officers were hired to patrol a commercial shopping corridor along Stone Mountain Highway during the holiday season. There are no direct numbers to establish the crimes actually thwart by the officers presence, but crime in that area was down during the time the officers were on patrol in the shopping centers (Brooks). Criminals, especially your street level drug user, are not interested in investing a lot of time or energy in the commission of their crime.
They would much prefer a soft target then a hard target. A hard target being police officers on site as well as other security measures. One might ask is a security guard posted at an entrance to a store as effective as a police officer? I think a security guard has a deterrent value, but not at the level of a police officer. The police represent a definite government power. The public perceptions of the two professions are quite different. Despite the advantages of hiring off duty police, there are several pitfalls.LIABILITY IN HIRING OFF-DUTY POLICE Hiring a police officer to work security at your establishment can be a liability. Most companies hire officers because of their training and arrest powers, but owners may find themselves liable if the officer acts in an egregious manner.
Private employers need to understand the legal ramifications. In the doctrine of respondeat superior, employers are liable for their employees' actions while they are employed in the firm's business (Trimble 1993). Depending on the circumstances the police officer, the private employer, the police department, or a combination of the three may be held liable for the officer's tortuous act. The courts have ruled that if an off-duty police officer is working within the scope of his or her employment as a police officer, his or her actions receive the same protection as an officer on-duty. But if the officer acts in a manner that is deemed excessive or outside the limits of the officer's authority then multiple parties may be held liable.
Just because an officer is in uniform and using department issued equipment to work off duty, he is not necessarily acting in the capacity of a police officer. If he is working off-duty then he is an employee of the private company. His police powers lie dormant until an emergency arises. At that moment he is no longer an employee of the private company, but acting under his authority as a police officer. The question becomes who is liable under what circumstances? If an officer acts in an excessive manner while enforcing company policy and is not involved in enforcing state or local law, it is likely that the company and not the department will be viewed as liable. For example, if an officer breaks a persons arm while tossing him out of a bar on the owners request, then the officer is enforcing company policy as no criminal act has occurred.
But, if there was a stabbing in the bar and during the arrest the suspect's arm was broken, the defense may claim that the department and officer are liable for excessive use of force during arrest. Although in this case the claim would most likely be thrown out, because officers are protected by qualified privilege from a charge resulting from a legal arrest, as long as the use of force used to make the arrest was not excessive. Several court cases have defined the nature of who is liable.CASE LAW In Groom v. Safeway, a Seattle police officer was hired to work security at a Safeway grocery store. The officer was in uniform issued by the Seattle PD. The store manager saw a customer in the store with a bag of prawns, a few minutes later the bag was gone.
The manager thought the customer had put the prawn in her purse, when in fact she had put them in her friend's shopping cart. The manager notified the officer of the potential shoplifting. The officer asked to search the customer's purse and she refused. An altercation ensued, and the customer was placed in handcuffs and detained. She remained there until her friend showed up with the prawns. She sued Safeway for unreasonable search and detention.
The courts agreed with the customer's claim that Safeway had failed to train the officer on how to deal with customers. The court also cited that the officer, his uniform, badge, and gun were all hired to serve Safeway's goal of deterring theft (Beaver). The courts have developed tests to determine the scope of a police officer's employment and who could be held liable. In State v. Kurtz, 78 Ariz. 215, 278 P.2d 406 (Ariz.
1954), the Court had to answer the question of whether off-duty officers engaged in private employment lose their official status to the extent that their act ...
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