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PRIVATE POLICE = PARA-POLICE?

In the past several years many in the security industry have advocated increasing
professional standards. The hallmark criteria of professionalism usually relate to training,
wages, recruitment standards, and accountability. These issues take on increased
importance in light of the nature and scope of the security industry in contemporary
America. Due to the threat of terrorism coupled with financial and operational constraints
facing municipal policing agencies, the use of private police will increase in coming
years. Understanding the legal and operational framework of security is critical as the
scope of private policing grows.
More than 2 million people are employed in security positions, with about $52
billion in annual spending. In contrast, public police employ about 700,000 people, with
only $30 billion in annual spending. In many places, private security personnel
outnumber public police by a ratio of 4-5 to 1. Going beyond these raw statistics, 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 municipal
facilities such as concert and sports stadiums (also termed “mass private property”).
Particularly because of the extended scope of private police within public and semi-
public property, the need for professionalism within the industry has dramatically
increased.
Two or 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,
even dangerous, intrusion into the standards maintained within the industry. Looking at
this concern from 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 individuals is critical to the service provision afforded to their clientele.
The “parapolice” model has many similarities from these para-professionals, there are
some distinctions, including an accepted and consistent training standard, wage levels
and the like.
These issues were framed in extensive studies of private policing by Dr. James F.
Pastor, the president of SecureLaw Ltd., a public safety and security consulting firm. He
is also an associate professor of public safety at Calumet College of St. Joseph. These
studies were initially published in Dr. Pastor’s groundbreaking book entitled, The
Privatization of Police in America: An Analysis and Case Study. The book examines the
myriad and often complicated issues related to private policing. One compelling
conclusion of the book is that law enforcement and private security will become
increasingly interrelated into 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 contribute to the order maintenance and service needs of the community—
thereby being the supportive “paraprofessionals” of municipal police departments.
SecureLaw Ltd. Phone: 312-423-6700
65 West Jackson Blvd., #112 Fax: 312-692-2322
Chicago, IL. 60604-3598 www.securelaw.info Email: info@securelaw.info
Dr. Pastor subsequently published Security Law and Methods, a case book
designed to extensively and critically examine legal issues that impact the provision of
security services. The complexity of these issues is made increasingly pointed in light of
the “security versus rights” debate that will last for as long as terrorism is considered a
threat. Understanding this debate in light of legal precedent, criminological theories,
security methods, and the concept and technique of terrorism has been the major
purpose—and contribution—of this book.
Finally, Dr. Pastor brought these issues together in an extensively researched and
structured book entitled: Terrorism and Public Safety Policing: Implications for the
Obama Presidency. This book developed a new “model” of policing involving three key
elements: Military Weaponry and Tactical Operations, Intelligence Methods and
Surveillance Technologies, and Order Maintenance provisions (see below Figure for
descriptive view of these elements). Each of these interrelated elements is critical to
public safety and homeland security. Going forward, the provision of order maintenance
services will be accomplished widely, if not extensively, by private police. These para-
police providers will operate within public environments, particularly in business
districts, critical infrastructure, mass transportation, sporting and concert facilities, and a
host of other locations. In short, the movement toward private policing is substantial and
will continue to increase as the threat of terrorism manifests itself.

Public Safety Policing

Military Weaponry & Intelligence Methods &


Order Maintenance Provisions
Tactical Operations Surveillance Technologies

If you are interested in this subject, please consider these books. Alternatively, if
you desire to discuss these issues with one of the preeminent experts on private policing,
please contact SecureLaw Ltd.

SecureLaw Ltd. Phone: 312-423-6700


65 West Jackson Blvd., #112 Fax: 312-692-2322
Chicago, IL. 60604-3598 www.securelaw.info Email: info@securelaw.info