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Relationship Between Public And Private Policing

1566 words - 7 pages

Relationship Between Public and Private Policing
Dana L. Dvorak
Bellevue University

This paper will explore the historical relationship between public and private policing. It will also discuss how the relationship has changed in recent years.

Relationship Between Public and Private Policing
Since the terrorist attacks that struck inside the heart of our country on 11 September 2001, civilian law enforcement agencies have been busy performing not only their regular duties of crime prevention and response, but also taking on a large number of homeland security functions and all of this during a time when local, state and federal budgets are ever tightening. Similarly, ...view middle of the document...

S. in the mid-1800s with the foundation of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago Illinois by Allan Pinkerton, the first man to be appointed as a detective in the Chicago Police Department. Since the federal government did not have personnel that could follow criminals across state lines, and local police personnel were ill equipped to handle the job, the Pinkerton Agency was hired to deal with criminal gangs (BSIS, n.d.). The company also performed many duties that are now handled by federal and state law enforcement agencies such as guarding railroads, conducting criminal investigations, and providing security advice to banks and other businesses.
“Policing is not necessarily the exclusive dominion of government, but rather a ‘service’ that could be assumed either by public or private agencies” (Elizabeth Joh, 2004). According to the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2000 there were 797,000 law enforcement officers employed in the United States by local, state and federal agencies. In comparison, private security organizations throughout the country employed roughly two million security officers (National Policy Summit, 2004). With these numbers it only makes sense for there to be a cooperative relationship between public and private police agencies. Joining the capabilities of the two sides would benefit each profession and greatly enhance the protection level that could be afforded to the citizens of this country. For example, the public police agencies usually receive more current threat information, while the private police agencies tend to maintain control over the areas or facilities that are considered vulnerable to attack. It has been estimated that “85 percent of the country’s critical infrastructure is protected by private security organizations” (National Policy Summit, 2004).
One factor that I believe has had a positive impact on improving relations between public and private police agencies is the crossover of personnel. Many times when law enforcement personnel at the local, state or federal level retire from their agencies, they tend to take on positions of employment within the private police field as Directors or other higher level positions due to the degree of their experience. These personnel maintain their contacts from within the law enforcement realm which can facilitate opportunities for much needed training and education of security officers, as well as increased probabilities for the sharing of information between agencies.
Another aspect which is closely related is the hiring of off-duty police officers to perform private security functions and details. Many companies feel that hiring an off-duty police officer to perform private security functions can be an effective crime deterrent when there is a visible police officer presence. Most public police agencies allow their officers, with advanced permission from the department, to work security duties or details...

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