Security Guards Given Police Power?
Listen, since privately-hired security guards don’t get true police training and don’t go through the academy…do note the category I’ve placed this story under.
Private security guards have outnumbered police officers since the 1980s, predating the heightened concern about security brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. What is new is that police forces, including the Durham Police Department here in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, are increasingly turning to private companies for help. Moreover, private-sector security is expanding into spheres — complex criminal investigations and patrols of downtown districts and residential neighborhoods — that used to be the province of law enforcement agencies alone.
The more than 1 million contract security officers, and an equal number of guards estimated to work directly for U.S. corporations, dwarf the nearly 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. The enormous Wackenhut Corp. guards the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and screens visitors to the Statue of Liberty.
“You can see the public police becoming like the public health system,” said Thomas M. Seamon, a former deputy police commissioner for Philadelphia who is president of Hallcrest Systems Inc., a leading security consultant. “It’s basically, the government provides a certain base level. If you want more than that, you pay for it yourself.”
Yeah, and we should hire rent-a-doctors to do the job of official doctors.
Listen, I think our men and women in blue deserve the appropriate respect and honor their positions demand, and not only will these moves cheapen that, they also have the potential to lessen their authority in the public’s eyes.
There’s no doubt that more people trying to make us safe is a good thing, but when you give amateurs the same powers as police, that’s just a bad move. Especially when we’re talking about our freedoms.
And yes, I can definitely see some advantages to this policy, especially when private police have helped apprehend criminals, etc. But ultimately we’re not talking about isolated cases here…we’re talking about the long run and that future doesn’t make me feel safer.
How about you?