Relationship between Private and Public Police G00fydad CJS/250 March 10, 2013 John Doe Relationship between Private and Public Police The police in our society carry with them a deep sense of tradition and honor that stems from generations of serving and protecting the public. This pride can, at times, lead some police to believe that they are the last line of defense with the public they serve and any other entity that appears to be encroaching on that territory should be mistrusted.
This attitude does not mix well with others attempting to perform the same job function such as private security. Thankfully this is not the consensus of all public police officers. Most public police understand that they require the assistance of the private sector and will welcome the help where it is offered. The public police also understand that that private security entities are often times the first to respond at many of the incidents that later involve the public police.
It has been estimated that nearly 85 percent of the country’s critical infrastructure is protected by private security (Ohlhausen, 2004). When the private security firms handle such a large majority of the policing duties it is essential that the relationship between the private and public police forces relate well to one another and cooperate whenever possible. One of the largest issues with the relationship between the public and private police stems from the general population’s opinion.
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The public police are looked upon as the legitimate police force and the private security departments are looked upon with very little respect by the community at large. This can be seen at most shopping malls when someone is committing a crime. When the security officer intervenes that situation may only deescalate slightly and the participants still look upon the security officer with little respect. However, when a public police officer arrives the situation is typically handled swiftly and all parties involved take things far more serious.
This image of private security officers and the relationship they hold with the public police is often exacerbated by the media in television and movies. They portray the security officers as lazy, bumbling, and not very smart. Of course these are the media’s vision of private security, but this is the general public consensus about the private security firms. This attitude and lack clear role definition of the private security field is a major roadblock in path of cooperation between the public and private sectors.
According to a report issued by the Private Security Advisory Council, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, and the U. S. Department Of Justice the major causes for the role conflict problems is a lack of mutual respect, lack of communication, lack of cooperation, lack of law enforcement’s knowledge of private security, perceived competition, lack of standards, and perceived corruption (1977). This separation of the public and private police is becoming less noticeable these days thanks to the education of both sides.
The public and private police understand that they require the help and cooperation of each other. For example, with regard to public and private space, the public police must have probable cause or a warrant issued by a judge in order to search a location. The private security officer does not require any such warrant. The private security officer only needs to conduct the search within the confines of his or her allowable space, or the area in which they normally operate.
For instance, a public police officer may not be allowed to come into an office building and search the office for narcotics without a warrant, but the company’s security officer is fully allowed to search the premises and turn over any evidence found. This definition between public and private space can be an advantage to public police. However, if the private security does not feel obliged to cooperate then the public police will need to work through other, longer, channels to get their job completed.
This can happen if the private security feels that they would rather handle an incident of criminal activity internally and will not allow the public police to intervene in the process. The private security entities make this decision from time to time for a variety of reasons including the mistrust of the court system to fully sanction the offender and the feeling that the current court system is a “revolving door” situation. It is situations such as these that prevent our public police and private security from having a truly unifying system.
According to Boston Massachusetts Transit Police Chief Joseph C. Carter, since September 11, 2001 law enforcement agencies have been under tremendous pressure to conduct their traditional crime prevention and response activities and perform an immense amount of homeland security work, in a time of tight city, county, tribal, and state budgets (2007). In a time of financial crisis for all areas of the government we must rely on the private security development and ensure that the public police and the private security entities work together to keep things safe.
In order for the public police and private security to truly work together government rules and regulations need to be enacted and the private sector would have to fall under the umbrella of government oversight. The private security entities would have to answer for the actions they take, and they would have to adhere to the same rules and regulations as public police. However, if this were to happen then the entire rules of search and seizure would have to change as well as many other law enforcement policies.
Once this change takes place within the government the public and private police will be able to interact with little interference and issue making the ability to deal with crimes far easier. This will have the added benefit of improving not only the image of private security in the community’s eyes, but also the relationship between public and private police agencies. While the relationship between the public and private police agencies can be strained at times, and relaxed at others the cooperation between both is very important and should be encouraged by all involved.
The public image of private security must also change and the officers within the realm of private security should be afforded the same respect and courtesy that public police already experience. This new attitude by the general populace coupled with government involvement and support will only serve to improve the relationship between public and private police. References Ohlhausen, P. (2004). In T Seamon (Chair). Building private security/public policing partnerships to prevent and respond to terrorism and public disorder. National policy summit.
Retrieved from http://cops. usdoj. gov/files/RIC/Publications/national_policy_summit. pdf Bilek, A. (1977, June). In A. Bilek (Chair). Law enforcement and private security sources and areas of conflict and strategies for conflict resolution. Retrieved from https://www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/44783NCJRS. pdf Carter, J. (2007). Public-private partnerships: Vital resources for law enforcement. Retrieved from http://www. policechiefmagazine. org/magazine/index. cfm? fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1257&issue_id=92007
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