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Public Safety Policing

by James F. Pastor, PhD, JD

Associate Professor in Public Safety at Calumet College of St. Joseph and President,
SecureLaw Ltd.

In these times of seemingly relentless news reports of terrorist acts coupled with the
steady stream of terror alerts, those who look underneath the sensationalism caused by
terrorism must ask the inevitable question: What is the best way to deal with this violence
and its implications? There are many ways and levels to assess this question. Your
solution is often dependent on how you see the problem. Some will focus on foreign
policy. Others will emphasize intelligence, crisis management, religion, or even
economic aide, to name a few.

I see the problem from the perspective of the street or at the “target” level. At this level,
the threat of terrorism may require a basic change in the nature of policing. As retractable
as terrorism seems, we must remind ourselves that this problem also represents an
opportunity for effective change. This article asks the reader to make a paradigm shift
related to the nature of policing.

Those who have studied policing will agree that there is an adage that indicates that the
optimal level of security is to have a “police officer on every block.” This “goal” is
considered both desirable, and yet unattainable. During heightened threats, we tend to
look for police officers and other authority figures to calm our fears and provide a sense
of security. Unfortunately, we seem to live in an era in which communicated threats and
sensational media coverage of “successful” terrorist acts are commonplace. This is likely
to continue—and become much more intense—for many years to come. The cumulative
effect of such will have a great impact on how we understand and practice policing.

Does Terrorism Require a New Policing Model?

We are at the cusp of a silent, yet fundamental, shift that will change the notion of
policing. This new policing model, which I term Public Safety Policing, will emphasize
tactical methods, technology, and alternative service providers. It will replace the
community policing model, which is the current policing strategy of choice. As will be
more fully developed below, I believe that the principles inherent in community policing,
while appropriate for an earlier era, will be unsustainable in contemporary times. At the
heart of this change will be a shift from the desire to change “hearts and minds” to one of
“target hardening.” Let me explain this crucial distinction.

Community policing emphasized a “client-centered” focus through which the optimal

goal was to prevent crime by changing the conditions that foster crime.1 This goal was to

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be achieved by working with individuals within the community. In this way, strategic
decisions in how the community is to be policed were to emanate from a partnership of
police and community leaders. Even the more mundane daily tasks were to be derived
from or influenced by community involvement. Underlying this level of police-
community cooperation is the impression that crime can be prevented by a cooperative
effort to remedy the conditions that cause crime. To achieve this goal, one critical affect
of this model was to re-orient the police to a more proactive and preventive approach to
crime fighting.2 In doing so, however, it has expanded the scope of the police mission by
fostering the delivery of more and more services.

To be clear, I advocate community involvement in policing. What I see as problematic,

however, is the notion that the police can change the root causes of crime—which
logically results in seeking to transform “hearts and minds.” To illustrate the difficulties
of this task, I ask my students (who are active police officers) this question: What are the
causes of crime? The inevitable answers are such things as poverty, lack of education,
dysfunctional families, drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, gangs, racism, unemployment,
opportunity, and the like. Upon listing these causes of crime, I then ask a follow-up
question: Can police agencies control each specific cause of crime? We then rank the
ability to control crime from 0 to connote “no control” to 5 to connote “complete
control.” As you may predict, the answers are almost universally in the 0 or 1 range,
except for one specific cause of crime—opportunity. When assessing this “cause of
crime”, my police students invariably rank their ability to control as being 4 or even 5.

While this exercise is not meant to demonstrate a scientifically sound conclusion, it does
provide key insights into the nature of policing. First, an important underlying principle
of community policing creates a burden on the police that I believe is unattainable. That
is, police cannot positively affect the causes of crime. While police agencies may
positively affect the conditions that foster crime through order maintenance techniques,
the underlying causes of crime are more problematic. Most would agree that such factors
as poverty, educational attainment, family life, teen pregnancy, unemployment, and even
racism (excluding racial profiling) are beyond the ability of police agencies to control.3
Even gangs and drugs/alcohol, which are arguably within the scope of police control, are
so widespread or endemic that it is inappropriate to expect the police to effectively
control the inclinations and incentives of those who participate. Of course, community
policing advocates would argue that these causes of crime can be positively affected by
police-community partnerships, which utilize a broad framework of social services.4
While this may have been true in the past, I think it is unlikely or even impossible in
contemporary times.

More important than this brief critique of community policing, the consequences of not
being able to control crime are now qualitatively different. For example, from the
perspective of most community policing advocates, if the police fail to prevent crime in

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the subway, the consequence is likely to be a theft, a robbery, or even a murder. Add
terrorism to this equation. Now the consequences are dramatically different—witness
Spain, London, and the almost daily events in Iraq.

With the threat and the realities of terrorism, the desire to affect the root causes of crime
will become distinctly subordinate to the desire to prevent terroristic acts. While some
may continue to advocate the “hearts and minds” goal of preventing crime (or even
terrorism), I contend that the police should re-orientate their focus toward a “target
hardening” approach to crime fighting (and terrorism). This distinction was
constructively illustrated in the movie Minority Report.5 The premise of this movie was
that future police techniques will include a “pre-crime” squad charged with the goal of
stopping crime before the criminal could complete the act. In this way, the pre-crime
squad did not care about changing the criminal inclinations of the individual. Instead, the
goal was simply to affect the individual’s opportunity to commit the crime. In doing so,
these futuristic police officers utilized various technological and tactical methodologies.

With terrorism control and prevention as part of the police mission, officers’ functions
will be complicated by the inevitable fact that they will be the targets of terroristic acts.
One needs to look no further than Iraq to observe that police and civil defense forces have
been frequent targets of terrorists. This is not a novel technique. Examples of terrorist
attacks against police officers and police facilities are undeniable, both in contemporary
and historical times. One consequence of this reality is that police will be forced to
protect themselves as they protect the community. This dynamic will result in the police
adopting more para-military tactics and weaponry, which will be notable attributes in the
coming Public Safety Policing model.

With the threat of terrorism, the community policing model, as it is currently advocated,
will become unsustainable. The “trigger” for this policing transition can be explained
with two basic foundations: (1) fear and (2) money. As any student of terrorism knows,
one of its key purposes is to induce fear into the population. Since the terrorist acts of 9-
11, this country has been on an emotional roller coaster, dealing with various public
pronouncements and increased threat levels. Understood in the grave reality of 9-11,
these ongoing threats cannot be discounted or ignored. The recent London subway and
bus bombings remind the public that this threat is real. Indeed, threats create fear, which
demands action. This cycle of threats and fear result in the government spending billions
of dollars on security-related expenditures.

Added to this dynamic is the fact that community policing monies previously provided by
the federal government have largely dried up. Most of the federal funding is now
centered on “homeland security.” Most of this funding, however, is earmarked for
technologies and training and designed to improve the performance of the “first
responders”—the police, fire, and medical personnel—who encounter a terrorist act.

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These monies typically do not fund police personnel. In this regard, consider this
assertion by Judith Lewis, retired captain from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department:

The expectations of law enforcement as first responder for homeland security have put an
almost unachievable burden on local law enforcement. Local law enforcement is not
designed organizationally to support the cooperation needed, and its officers don’t have
the training and technology to do the job . . . Currently, traditional law enforcement is
being left behind.6

Consequently, both of these factors, fear and money, are complicated by or relate to “9-
11” and “911.” Ironically, these factors, referring to the terrorist incidents and the
communication system, have served to stretch police budgets and increase police work
load. Future terroristic acts will further stretch police budgets and resources.

The computerized call taking system of “911” has resulted in huge increases in work
loads in police departments throughout the country. Years of urging citizens to call “911”
has created a culture in which people tend to call the police for more and more service-
orientated requests. Calls for such things as barking dogs, street light repairs, noisy
neighbors, unruly children, and alarm response have created a difficult “unintended
consequence” for police agencies already strapped with resource constraints. These
service and order maintenance tasks performed by sworn police officers are both costly
and a waste of important human and organizational resources.

This system of policing—called 911 policing—was appropriately criticized by Kelling

and Coles (1996), who argued that it has created an “enormous demand” for police
services. Kelling noted Boston as an example. In 1975, there were 350,000 non-index
(service-oriented) calls. By 1991, the number of non-index calls rose to nearly 600,000
service calls.7 Departments across the country have to deal with similar increases in
service levels.

Attempts have been instituted to resolve the increasing level of service calls.
Implementing “311” (non-emergency police response) and call stacking (prioritizing calls
for dispatch based on level of seriousness) have had some success.8 These attempts,
however, have not resolved the basic dilemma—servicing the community through the
resources allocated to the department.

Faced with these twin constraints of fear and financial burdens, thoughtful police
executives are responding with creative and innovative methods. To illustrate this
dilemma, I often ask two basic, yet telling, questions to police administrators related to
the relationship between resources and functions:

1. Do you have the resources for all the functions you are asked to perform?

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2. Are you asked to perform functions that you prefer not to perform?

Predictably the answers are “no” and “yes,” respectively. A paradigm shift in policing is
the better answer. Simply stated, we cannot afford to maintain the status quo. In my
opinion, agencies must provide more cost-effective policing methods. In this sense, the
future focus of the police will be less on service and more on protection. Consequently, I
contend that the “serve and protect” mission of the police should be re-orientated to focus
on protection. This emphasis on protection contrasts to the views of community policing
advocates, who tend to focus on service as a means to deal with the root causes of crime.

Almost all police executives believe that budgetary constraints diminish their ability to
deliver optimal police services. If the proactive executive cannot resolve this limitation
through management and organizational initiatives, then the next logical approach is to
assess the types and levels of services provided to the community. Can some services be
contracted out? Can some services that are currently performed by sworn police
personnel be performed by civilians? Alternatively, can a given police department decide
not to perform certain services, or can increased use of technology make the police more

These questions explore many considerations and interests. Indeed, police budgets related
to service provisions have political, social, financial, and organizational implications. It is
too simplistic to say “give me more money” or “we have decided to stop providing
certain services.” The community or governmental officials may not agree with these
“solutions.” Instead, the typical answer is to continue to deliver the same types and levels
of services, within the current budgetary appropriation. This reality leaves the police
executive, or even the municipal official, with the unenviable task of constantly balancing
the budget with the demand for existing service functions and levels. Faced with this
dilemma, Youngs asserts, “the steady decline of government’s capital resources and the
increasingly urgent search for ways to continue providing the services that citizens
demand without raising taxes are driving the privatization trend.”9

At some point, if citizens do not receive the level of protection—and desired service
provisions—that they deem necessary, then fear may drive the need to contract out to
alternative service providers. In this sense, security or public safety services become a
commodity. Simply stated, people will pay for protection. Just as they will pay premium
dollars for a BMW or a Saab—due to their perceived (or actual) safety records, people
will pay extra dollars to security firms if police departments cannot or will not provide
adequate levels of protective services. Indeed, security has become a huge industry, based
on both actual and perceived need for specialized or personalized services that the public
police cannot provide. Consequently, budgetary and operational constraints facing police
agencies may serve to create a market for public safety services within the public realm,
just as these services have been supplied in private environments.

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Even a cursory view of media reports and economic conditions will lead to the
conclusion that public budgets are facing difficult financial circumstances. Terrorism will
only exasperate financial constraints. Some police departments have laid off sworn
officers for the first time in a generation,10 and others are reducing their personnel levels
by attrition and slowing the rate of new hires. The chart below illustrates the reduction
levels of some large police departments, ranging from a 4.4% reduction of force in Los
Angeles and 5.5% in New Orleans to 8.7% in New York City and 14.9% in Minneapolis.

Source: Kevin Johnson, USA Today, December 2, 2003, pp. 1A-3A

While public police departments experience budget constraints, private security firms
have dramatically expanded their relative size and scope. Studies of the “public safety”
industry reveal a growing disparity between public and private policing. In 1981, the
security industry spent approximately $21.7 billion, compared to $13.8 billion on public
policing. In 1991, these expenditures rose to $52 billion for private security, compared to
only $30 billion for public policing.11 These predictions had private security spending
approximately $104 billion in 2000, with public policing spending only $44 billion.12 If
these predictions are correct, the ratio of dollars invested in private compared to public
policing reveals that about 70% of all money invested in crime prevention and law
enforcement is spent on private security.13

Other statistics reveal an annual growth rate for private security to be about double the
growth rate of public policing. Through the year 2004, private security was expected to
grow at a rate of 8% per year.14 As a consequence of the September 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks, certain security firms predict revenue growth to be in the range of 10% to 12%
per year.15 Indeed, these figures illustrate that private security is one of the fastest
growing industries in the country.16 Most of this growth occurred prior to September 11,
2001. By any account, this data reveals a substantial variance between the two entities.

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Given these statistics and trends, my solution is to make better use of private security
personnel, especially in public areas—as a supplement to municipal policing agencies.

With more than 2 million security personnel, the private security industry is well
positioned to help deliver security services to municipal government and communities.17
Due in part to the growth of the private security industry and by strained municipal
budgets, there is a growing trend to employ private police officers in public areas,
including within business districts, on public streets within residential communities, and
in large semi-public facilities, such as shopping malls and concert and sports stadiums
(also termed “mass private property”). The primary purpose of these arrangements is to
provide order maintenance and certain “lower level” services to clients (citizens), while
the public police focus on tactical enforcement and public safety.

I believe this will result in the development of a public safety model of policing, which
will witness closer working relationships between public police and private security.
Indeed, early advocates for community policing understood that private security was
well-suited to provide “client-centered” services, which forms an underlying principle of
community policing.18 In this sense, Trojanowicz states that “all public police programs,
including community policing, risk being ‘privatized’ out of existence.”19
Notwithstanding Trojanowicz’s well-founded concerns, I believe that contemporary
circumstances will foster more, if not most, “community policing” services being
delivered by private security or “para-police” officers.

Elements of Public Safety Policing

There are three key elements of public safety policing that I envision dominating the
methods of future police agencies. It is important to note the specific premises of my
model. The elements articulated below relate to police services—typically delivered on
the street, and in and around mass transportation, critical infrastructure, mass private
property, etc. The underlying purpose of these services is protection with a secondary
focus on service. Stated another way, the goal is to prevent crime by affecting the
opportunity means of criminals and terrorists. These methods can be broadly
characterized in the following three ways:

1. Tactical Methods
2. Technological Initiatives
3. Alternative Service Providers

Tactical Methods

As was briefly discussed above, police will increasingly adopt para-military tactics and
weaponry. Just as the military is focusing more on faster and lighter tactics and weapons,

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the police will increasingly adopt military weaponry, such as M-16s, armored vehicles,
helicopters, and infrared surveillance equipment. Well before 9-11, police departments
throughout the country were being supplied by the military. Between 1995 and 1997, the
Defense Department gave 1.2 million pieces of military hardware, including 73 grenade
launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers to various police agencies, with LAPD
itself acquiring 600 M-16’s.20 Interestingly, a survey inquiring into the use of tactical
operations in high-crime areas found that 61% of the police agency respondents
performed such tactical operations.21

As the threat of terrorism increases, so will the use of tactical methods. Such tactical and
aggressive patrol functions, as articulated in the elements of strategic orientated policing,
are even encouraged by community policing advocates.22 These tactical units—often
called gang and drug units, tactical teams, tactical response units, special weapons and
tactics (SWAT), etc.—will flourish, particularly in large cities during times of high threat
levels.23 Some authors, like Weber, argue against the use of tactical units. She asserts that
“mission creep” will result, in which SWAT teams have a strong incentive to expand
their original “emergency” mission into more routine policing activities to “justify their
existence.”24 Notwithstanding this assertion, these tactical methods, while inevitably
criticized in some circles, will come to be widely accepted—and even desired—in a
terroristic atmosphere.

In addition to these tactical methods, policing agencies will use saturation patrols to
demonstrate a “show of force,” when it is deemed necessary and proper.25 For example,
the 6,000 officers employed in London in July 2005, which was the largest concentration
of security forces in London since WWII, are illustrative of this methodology.26 While
this saturation method is both temporary and costly, the need to symbolically “control”
the streets and critical infrastructure is likely to supersede other financial constraints—at
least temporarily. In this sense, fear will sometimes trump money, but the realities of
budgets and individual rights (or conveniences) will prove to be a difficult
counterbalance. Indeed, the baggage searches instituted by NYPD following the July
2005 London bombings have already resulted in lawsuits.27 These examples are
illustrative of the realities of 21st century policing.

Technological Initiatives

Notwithstanding symbolic and operational benefits, the use of tactical and saturation
policing methods will increasingly challenge municipal budgeting. This will necessitate
the use of more cost-effective policing strategies, as illustrated by the growing use of
technologies, such as cameras, computerized crime mapping, networked criminal
information systems, facial recognition systems, and other types of interactive software.
For example, crime mapping software has enabled the police to become more predictive.
Police administrators are directing tactical or “saturation teams” to certain locations to

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prevent the occurrence of likely crimes, such as robbery patterns or gang shootings, as
developed through the use of crime mapping techniques. While these technologies and
techniques are not perfect, they represent a quantum leap in the crime-fighting methods
of policing agencies.

Each of these technologies is designed to detect or prevent occurrences within a

particular location. Consider that the Chicago Police Department is developing a
networked system of cameras that will enable an officer in the squad car or the dispatch
center to monitor such diverse conditions as gunshots on street corners to unattended
briefcases within a protected facility. Other cities around the country are using cameras
for both crime deterrence and traffic enforcement. For example, cities that have recently
installed or enhanced camera systems within public locations include the following: Los
Angeles; Baltimore; New Orleans; Washington, DC; Brentwood, California; Crown
Point, Indiana; Columbia, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida; Gary, Indiana; Virginia
Beach, Virginia; Merrillville, Indiana; Calumet City, Illinois; and San Francisco.28 The
list goes on. Surely many more cities will implement CCTV systems sooner than later.
This list is limited to technology within the public realm. Of course, private firms have
used cameras and other security technologies within their protected facilities for decades.
The point, of course, is that such technologies are now being used by public police
agencies on the public way. This is a qualitative change that will change the way policing
agencies operate.

Alternative Service Providers

In addition to tactics and technologies, the delivery of police services to a given

community or within a given environment will still be necessary and proper; however,
the days of police officers answering barking dog and noise complaints, guarding crime
scenes, directing traffic, responding to alarm calls, etc. will be numbered. Simply stated,
municipal police departments will not be able to afford employing highly trained and
relatively highly paid police officers to perform such routine functions. I believe that
alternative service initiatives will be an increasingly viable alternative for such routine

Alternative service providers are, in essence, civilians who perform certain service
functions—from parking enforcement to crime scene security. These services are cost-
effective, and they reduce the service provisions required of sworn officers. While some
of these tasks have long ago shifted away from sworn officers, there are growing
indications that alternative service providers will substantially increase. I predict that
innovative initiatives utilizing private police personnel to perform basic police services,
including order maintenance functions, will be widespread. Of course, order maintenance
is a key component of the community policing model.29 The desire for these
arrangements will be attractive for many reasons.

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As the threat—or the reality—of terrorism grows, so will the need for security. Using the
past 4 years as an indicator, it is reasonable to presume that the impact of terrorism will
continue to strain governmental budgets. This will result in continued innovation.
Technology and tactical techniques will only go so far. Cameras on street corners may
help deter criminals, but will they deter the committed terrorist? Tactical police officers
may help prevent terrorist attacks, but they cannot be everywhere. What is needed are
more “eyes and ears” on the public way.

This could be accomplished by focusing sworn police officers on tactical functions and
shifting service and order maintenance functions to alternative service providers. Two
options for alternative service providers exist: either they are employed by government or
by private firms. Each type of supplemental service has its own strengths and
weaknesses. The use of private police, however, has particular appeal because property or
business owners can directly contract for public safety service provisions without
adversely affecting municipal budgets.

While space does not allow for a full treatment of these options, both will coexist, but
private firms will be the preference. In essence, private firms provide cost savings to
municipal budgets through lower salaries, little or no pension and medical costs,
overhead savings, more discretion for job actions (due to lack of unions or contract
provisions), and other similar factors. Indeed, some privatized arrangements are
exclusively funded by voluntary real estate tax increases by business and property
owners, thereby costing little or nothing from the municipal budget.

These “para-police” officers will perform many service and order maintenance
functions—on the public way—that public police officers are unable or unwilling to
perform. These functions include controlling loitering, public drinking, and rowdy
behavior; providing “street corner security” in business or mixed commercial/ residential
districts; and responding to burglar alarm calls. These, and other such tasks, are critical
for a secure, orderly environment.

Looking at such tasks from a conceptual manner, it is useful to think of the location of the
services in relation to the service provision. This location-to-provision analysis is
illustrated by the diagram below:

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Traditionally, security firms have operated almost exclusively within private
environments. This is illustrated by the Corporate Security box. In this sense, security
personnel are the “sheriffs” within their environment, acting with little or no support from
the public police. The practice in this environment is that security act as a “substitute” for
police agencies, providing most, if not all, of the security services at the particular
location. Similarly, the towns of Reminderville, Ohio, and Sussex, New Jersey, fired their
police departments and hired security firms to replace them. While these arrangements
proved unsustainable, it represents the extreme of privatization—being the actual
“sheriff” within the town. To be clear, I do not advocate such an extreme approach. I do,
however, advocate the use of privatized patrols as supplements in both private and public
environments. This is where the focus will be as we go forward.

As illustrated by the diagram, security firms are operating in private environments; such
as gated communities, corporate and college campuses, large shopping malls, and sports
and concert facilities (i.e., “mass private property”). These supplemental services within a
private location provide an additional level of security, typically through patrols, access
controls, and other security-related methodologies. Similarly, some public locations, as
illustrated by Marquette Park, Starrett City, Center City, and Grand Central, have formed
Business Improvement Districts or Special Service Districts, where private and public
police act in a supplemental work sharing arrangement.

In these locations, private security firms provide patrol and other “quality-of-life”
services that the police are unable or unwilling to perform. Most of the functional service
provision is manifested in “observe and report” and order maintenance tasks. In this
sense, these arrangements combine the traditional “observe and report” function of
private security with the order maintenance role traditionally reserved for public police.
Performing such functions in the public domain, however, raises important public safety
and public policy questions. Notwithstanding the potential for both benefit and abuse,
these private patrols have been relatively unstudied within academic research and largely
overlooked by policy-makers.

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Considering the relative lack of research, I conducted extensive research on privatized
patrol arrangements, which included riding in a patrol car as the private police officers
performed their duties. As one of the few—if not the first—to perform such ride-along
research, I had a bird’s eye view of this new policing model. The study demonstrated that
private police officers will perform many service and order maintenance functions. The
research also revealed that even law enforcement functions, such as arrests for gun
possession and serious crimes, were performed by private security personnel—as they
patrol public streets. It also demonstrated that constitutionally violative searches and
seizures would occur and that questionable legal authority will complicate their patrol
functions. Consequently, because of the extended scope of private police within public
and semi-public property, the need for professionalism within the industry has
dramatically increased.30

Specifically, my research addressed a key element of this new policing model: the use of
private (para) police patrols on public streets. In assessing the functions performed by
private police, I found that order maintenance was their dominant function (51.5%). This
is consistent with the “client service” focus of private security and is consistent with a
key premise of community policing—reducing disorderly conditions results in less crime.
The remaining functions by the private police officers were observe and report (31.8%)
and law enforcement (16.6%). These findings reveal that private police focus on certain
“lower” level police functions, such as order maintenance and as the “eyes and ears” of
the police (the “observe and report” function). In this way, private police demonstrate
that they could perform these functions—thereby allowing municipal police departments
the ability and resources to focus on higher level concerns or threats.

Based partly on these functional findings, plus such factors as licensing, uniforms,
weaponry, and the coordination and cooperation with the City of Chicago and the
Chicago Police Department, I concluded that these security officers were “public actors,”
thereby making constitutional protections applicable. Since constitutional protections
were applicable, I concluded that the security officers violated the 4th Amendment in
their quest to provide public safety services to the community. Added to this negative
conclusion, was the fact that there was little, if any, formal accountability within the
privatized patrol arrangement, and little formal training, other than the basic 40-hour
standard required by the state.31 Clearly, these are important indicators of the viability
and professionalism required of public safety providers.

One compelling conclusion is that municipal police and private security will become
increasingly interrelated in a public safety industry. In order for this to occur, however,
private police must exhibit increased professionalism at the patrol level, which can only
be accomplished by a requisite increase in training, wages, and accountability.
Consequently, if “parapolice” are to function within the public realm, they must be
prepared to appropriately contribute to the order maintenance and service needs of the

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community, thereby taking on the supportive “paraprofessionals” of municipal police

The use of private security patrols has its corollary in both the legal and medical
professions. About three decades ago, there was much controversy in both the legal and
medical professions related to the growing use of para-professionals. Many in these
professions viewed the introduction of “paramedics” and “paralegals” as an offensive and
even dangerous intrusion into the standards maintained within the industry.32 In these
professions, market and fiscal constraints necessitated the development of supplemental
service providers to act as para-professionals for the higher skilled, licensed
professionals. In this way, para-medics and para-legals contribute to client service
delivery, while simultaneously supporting the professionals in a structured “work
sharing” or division of labor relationship. This working relationship is manifested in
different functional and cognitive roles.33

Looking at this concern based on 21st century norms, any “controversy” seems pale.
Indeed, not only have these respective professions been able to sustain high standards,
but the work product of these para-professionals is critical to the service provision
afforded to their clientele. Similarly, para-police services can be contracted through
government for such things as crime scene security, traffic control, crime reporting, and
other similar services; and through community or business associations for patrol and
alarm response services. In this sense, I advocate the integration of “para-police” into the
public safety model of policing.

Implications of Public Safety Policing

As implied in the above discussion, this new model of policing is a challenge,

complicated by a number of factors. First, bringing private security and municipal
policing together will require a bridge that joins these seemingly complimentary, but
often conflicted, entities. This requires more than “partnerships” between security and
policing. It requires a structural approach, in which security personnel and municipal
police are joined together within the organizational chart—and the organizational cultures
of the respective entities. Space does not allow for flushing out the intricacies of these
structural components. Suffice to say, policy- and decision-makers should look to
successful public-private models for insight and direction.34

Most importantly, the increased use of tactical policing, and the reliance on technologies
and para-police will result in certain unintended consequences. It will create a tension
between two critical principles: security and freedom. Just as fear is driving the need for
security, it may also trump the quest for individual rights. In this sense, the desire for
security will motivate people to hire private police officers or to use more and more
surveillance methods. If these methods are not adequately restricted and controlled, they

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may lead to abuses.35 Furthermore, if tactical police units or para-police personnel are not
adequately trained and skilled, they are likely to violate our rights in the quest to keep us
safe.36 In order to achieve the balance between security and rights, we must require
higher levels of training, licensing standards, and more accountability. Particularly with
para-policing, this will require regulations, legitimatized legal authority, and increased
expenditures for these services. Consequently, the relationship between the money
expended and the services rendered creates a delicate balancing act. The optimal balance
can only be achieved in relative calm, as opposed to the face of fear.

The use of tactical police, para-police, and technology within public environments is
likely to be increased in direct relation to the level of terroristic threat. This will foster
competing desires of security and liberty. Those who are fearful of crime and terrorism
naturally desire more security. Those who worry about liberty and constitutional rights
will demand accountability and professionalism from public safety service providers.
These goals, however, are often competing.

These competing goals are complicated by security methodologies designed to control

human behavior and the environment surrounding the potential target. In security
parlance, this is known as “target hardening.” Target hardening is designed to protect the
facility or person from physical attack. Protecting the target, however, usually requires
control and surveillance, both of which are likely to affect the liberty and constitutional
rights of the controlled or the surveilled.

Conversely, the more liberty afforded within society, the less secure its citizens are likely
to be. Liberty—by its very nature—allows for the free flow of people within society. In
this sense, liberty—through the application of constitutional protections, allows citizens
to interact, reside, conduct business, and move to and fro in a relatively unencumbered
manner. The ability to do so, however, may provide opportunities or vulnerabilities to
physical attack. Consequently, the conveniences and rights afforded to citizens of this
country facilitate a perverse counter-objective—the destruction of people and property by
those who are inclined to do so.

In summary, I believe that a new policing model—one dominated by tactical,

technological, and alternative service providers—is required by the economic and
operational realities of policing; however, these methods raise important legal,
constitutional, and public policy questions. Indeed, like any major public policy initiative,
the potential for unintended consequences exist.

If my findings are indicative of para-policing patrols within the public realm, then much
work needs to be done. On one hand, the police and the public need help, which the
security industry is uniquely capable of providing. On the other hand, the alternative
service providers must be deployed in a systematic and professional fashion. Simply

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stated, too much is at stake. Public safety and constitutional protections will be
affected—positively or negatively—by how this new policing model is ultimately
implemented. While we can expect mistakes to occur, the level of professionalism
exhibited by those charged with public safety will be a key indicator in our level of
success. In this sense, wrestling with these identifiable deficiencies, constitutes a critical,
yet basic, subject that needs to be further addressed and explored.

What seems certain is that current societal conditions influencing this new policing model
are prevalent. It’s the “perfect storm” that cannot be stopped. We can only prepare for its
arrival. Indeed, it is already here. Most people simply have not detected or articulated its
presence. Consequently, we may be drawing near to the goal of a “police officer on every
block.” The definition of the police officer, however, may be expanded to include diverse
elements like cameras and private security personnel. In this sense, the time has come to
redefine the nature of policing. In doing so, we must consider the delicate balance
between security and liberty.37

© James F. Pastor, 2005


1. Oliver, W. M. (2004). Community-oriented policing: A systemic approach to policing. Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
2. Oliver op cit. at pp. 32-46; and Kelling, G. (1995, May/June). Reduce serious crime by restoring
order. The American Enterprise, 17-18.
3. See Trojanowicz, R. C. (1988, Fall/Winter). Serious threats to the future of policing. Footprints,
National Center for Community Policing. He stated that “educating the public that the police can
do little about the root causes of crime, such as poverty and unemployment, may help improve
their overall credibility” (p. 2).
4. Oliver op cit. at pp. 78-104; and Trojanowicz op. cit. at p. 3.
5. Goldman, G., & Shusett, R. (Executive Producers). (2002). Minority report [Motion Picture].
United States: 20th Century Fox & Dreamworks, LLC.
6. Stephens, G. (2005, March/April). Policing the future: Law enforcement’s new challenges. The
Futurist, 39(2), 51-57.
7. Kelling, G. L., & Coles, C. M. (1996). Fixing broken windows: Restoring order & reducing crime
in our communities. New York: Simon & Schuster.
8. See for example McEwen, T., Spence, D., Wolff, R., Wartell, J., & Webster, B. (2003, February).
Call management & community policing: A guidebook for law enforcement. Washington, DC:
Institute for Law & Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
9. Youngs, A. (2004, January). The future of public/private partnerships. FBI Law Enforcement
Bulletin, 73(1), 7-11.
10. See for example Meyer, A. (2003, May 18). Layoffs are turning blue. Chicago Tribune, 10-11.
11. Cunningham, W. C., Strauchs, J. J., & Van Meter, C. W. (1991). Private security: Patterns &
trends. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
12. Ibid
13. Carlson, T. (1995, Summer). Safety, inc.: Private cops are there when you need them. Policy
Review, 73, 52-62; and H.B. 2996: Law Enforcement & Industry Security Cooperation Act of
1996 (104th Congress), February 29, 1996.

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14. Bailin, P. (2000, November). Gazing into security’s future. Security Management, 27-33.
15. Perez, E. (2002, April 9). Demand for security still promises profit. The Wall Street Journal, A10.
16. Zielinski, M. (1999). Armed & dangerous: Private security on the march. Covert Action Quarterly.
Available online at caq.com/caq/caq54p.police.html
17. See for example, U.S. Department of Justice. (2004). National policy summit: Building private
security/public policing partnerships to prevent and respond to terrorism and public disorder.
Washington, DC: Author.
18. Davis, R. C., Dadush, S., & Frish, J. (2000, August). The public accountability of private police:
Lessons of New York, Johannesburg & Mexico City. New York: Vera Institute of Justice.
19. Trojanowicz op cit. at p. 1.
20. Weber, D. C. (1999). Warrior cops: The ominous growth of para-militarism in American police
departments. Washington, DC: Cato Institute.
21. Ibid at p. 8.
22. Oliver op cit. at pp. 51-75.
23. Spielman, F., & Main, F. (2003, June 24). Elite police unit to flood streets in city’s hot spots.
Chicago Sun Times, 24.
24. Weber op cit. at p. 11.
25. Davies, H. J., & Murphy, G. R. (2002). Protecting your community from terrorism: Strategies for
local law enforcement, working with diverse communities. Community Oriented Policing Services
& Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) at p. 34; and Weber op cit. at p. 8.
26. The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2005.
27. The New York Times, August 8, 2005.
28. These examples are taken from open sources collected by the Department of Homeland Security
and are disseminated in its daily security briefings. Also see Shenk, D. (2003, November).
Watching you: The world of high-tech surveillance. National Geographic, 4-29; and Video
surveillance: Information on law enforcement’s use of closed circuit television to monitor selected
federal property in Washington, DC. (2003, June). Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Accounting Office, GAO-03-748.
29. Oliver, op cit. pp. 27-35; Cox, S. M. (1990). Policing into the 21st century. Police Studies, 13(4),
168-177; Johnston, L. (1992). The rebirth of private policing. London: Routledge.
30. For a more complete discussion on this matter, see Pastor, J. F. (2003). The privatization of police
in America: An analysis & case study. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.
31. Pastor op cit. at pp. 164-184.
32. See for example, McLeod, R. (2002). Para police: A revolution in the business of law
enforcement. Toronto: Boheme Press.
33. See for example, Bayley, D. H., & Shearing, C. D. (2001, July). The new structure of policing:
Description, conceptualization & research agenda. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
34. Pastor op cit. at pp. 84-100.
35. Colias, M. (2004, April 30). Neighbors divided over Chicago’s crime-busting cameras. USA
Today, 15; Konkol, M. J., Hantschel, A., & Hohl, A. (2003, July 11). The police are watching:
Chicago force unveils camera system that will record activity on the streets. Daily Southtown, 9.
36. Main, F. (2004, January 15). Harvey’s armed marshals accused of breaking law.Chicago Sun
Times, 7.
37. Selected portions of this article were excerpted from Pastor, J. F. (2005, March/April). Terrorism
& public safety policing. Crime & Justice International, 21(85), 4-8, with permission from the

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