Normally I do not try to intersect Law Enforcement and Private Security / Private Investigations with one another, however, I believe it is important to explain the liability and the benefits of both.
The liability private companies have when using off duty Law Enforcement are tremendous. 1 reason why is because Law Enforcement Officers are Law Enforcement 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Law Enforcement can not choose when or where they will be police officers and when and where they will not be police officers and the Supreme Court has proven this in litigation by awarding plaintiffs millions in someone lawsuits time and time again.
Businesses believe that just because a police officer is off duty not only do they get a better-trained person but the liability for the business having a police officer is lessened when in fact it very much heightened 10 fold and more so if you are hiring that police officer and he, in turn, is wearing anything issued by that department he works for such as Uniform, Firearm, Handcuffs, jacket that reads police or sheriff and even as simple as the boots or shoes he wears if he wears them in the course of his job as a police officer.
I personally as a Police Officer and as a Security Consultant for insurance companies have had to deal with this issue on many levels from a simple false arrest case to a civil rights violation of a shoplifter.
When you hire an off-duty police officer YES you absolutely get someone who is a way better-trained individual BUT depending on the State your located that police officer may not have to be bonded and insured to work as a security officer off duty and at the same time the business employing them has to take full responsibility of civil liability for actions of a person who works under the color of state as a private security officer just as a municipality would for the officer doing his job as a police officer or sheriff.
To be fair on the flip side of this coin the police officer employed off-duty as a security or private investigator thinks that things they do as a private security or investigator are legal when in fact they are not under the color of state rulings. At no time has a court ever upheld that because an officer was off duty he could violate any civil rights of any individual just because they were off duty.
As an Example, I have been to restaurants, movie theaters, stores, and other events and seen police officers working as off-duty security in uniform checking “Frisking” people and bags at private venues. A smart attorney what some call an ambulance chaser prays something goes wrong so that they can bring a lawsuit against both the municipality and private business because at this point both are liable because the municipality is allowing the officer to not only work off duty as a security officer but he himself or herself should know better than to be checking a handbag without a warrant.
This is why our own Federal Government contracts private security forces on government property because they know when, where and why to bring in private security and the DOJ sets very clear limits as to when Federal Law Enforcement shall enforce an event and when they need to contract security to secure an event.
When I discuss the intersection of Private Security / Investigators and Law Enforcement the intersection is very similar to a point and in just a few minutes you yourself can understand how it is similar while at the same time different.
As a Private Security Contractor, you are not held to the standard or expected to uphold the constitutional amendments of a private citizen like Law Enforcement Officer who spends months in school and the Academy learning State and Federal Laws, constitutional amendments and probable cause rulings even tho some companies such as ours teach you and train you to know just how far you can go from site to site.
Just like police officers, on private property security officers have the same arrest authority as a Law Enforcement officer and have the same right as a police officer to file affidavits of arrest.
Unlike Police Officers, Contract Security has a right to not only frisk a person entering or exiting a business if there is suspicion a person committing shoplifting but they can also check a purse, bag, backpack or vehicle without a warrant.
Unlike a Police Officer, a contract security officer can ban a subject from coming onto a property because they are employees of that property.
Both Police Officers and Contract Security can conduct parallel investigations and introduce evidence discovered to the DA or Prosecutors office however unlike police officers needing a warrant contract security does not because they do not work under color of state.
Contract Security can check vehicles coming into and leaving a private property without a warrant, unlike police officers who must follow the 4th amendment guidelines set forth and when I get time I will discuss in a later article on why Federal and State governments tend to hire Contract Security.
Contract Security Companies, unlike Law Enforcement Officers, can conduct warrantless searches on employees lockers, vehicles and work areas not associated with a particular crime and do not require probable cause or a warrant.
Contract security companies who have private investigations built into the company can do warrantless investigations of guests or employees and do not require warrants to conduct these investigations as long as they do not violate any Federal or State statute or law.
Unlike Law Enforcement the Security / Investigations company you hire works for you 24/7 and does not share your services with 20k more clients who call in a 24 hour period and demand services and investigations.
I could go on for several more hours discussing how the private sector security/investigations outweigh hiring off-duty law enforcement but at the same time how they are similar. businesses must realize that there is a major difference in both but at the same time how both are similar and how liability can play roles when civil rights are violated.