Historical Development of the Relationship between Private Security and Public Law Enforcement Agencies

HistoricalDevelopment of the Relationship between Private Security and PublicLaw Enforcement Agencies

Historicaldevelopments that have shaped the current status of the relationshipbetween private security agencies and public law enforcement agencies

Inthe past, law enforcement practitioners and private security have notalways had the best relationships. Sometimes, police held securityofficers in low regard while corporate security directors often feltthat police did not show interest and were incapable of addressingcertain issues, like terrorism and high-tech crime, of their concern(Ortmeier, 2013). However, in the contemporary day these agenciesenjoy a good relationship and they regularly work together both atprivate and public functions

Trainingand education

Improvedtraining of security practioneer has continuously shaped andstrengthened the current relationship between these agencies.Nowadays, approximately 22 states have embraced basic training forlicensed security guards (Ortmeier, 2013). In addition, securitycertifications and detailed offerings of security education programshave been offered by several security associations. Again, more thana hundred institutions of higher education offer security-relateddegree programs in the United States of America. Increased trainingand education, in turn, has increased the desire of securitypractitioners to be partners with various law enforcement agencies.


Inthe past, most early partnerships between private and public wereestablished by law enforcement or by both private security and lawenforcement. However, these partnerships were led solely by the lawenforcement agencies that played the role of providing informationtargeted to the partnership’s members (Ortmeier, 2013). Only a fewpartnerships were led by private security. Nevertheless, it is nowpossible to find many of these partnerships being led by privatesecurity, who solely fund and administer these partnerships, and lawenforcement only participates as one member among many. Often,private security has a budget for provision of space, food, and otherresources necessary for meetings between private security and lawenforcement.

Privateprovision of law enforcement services

Privatesecurity provisions are increasingly providing services that weretraditionally provided by law enforcement. When local enforcementagencies are overstretched government find it wise to contract forsuch services in order to cut costs or boost coverage. In fact,security personnel, employed by BIDs carry out functions of policethat would be ignored when police have other tasks to accomplish(Nemeth, 2011). Again, major events require private securityassistance. This is because such events incorporate such a largecrowd for the local police department to handle on its own. Disastershave also led to the use of private security firms that provideservices that have law enforcement have traditionally provided. Forinstance, after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, 15 armedguards from a small security in Dallas, Texas were called upon tosecure the U.S Army Corps of Engineers’ compound as well as protectlockmasters that controlled the dams for barges on river Mississippi(Nemeth, 2011).

Impactof the events on the primary functions of private security agenciesin the United States

Theseevents have resulted to increased hiring of private security officersin the United States of America. Undeniably, most CEO that head bigcorporations as well as celebrity figures continuously move away frompublic law enforcement and are now embracing security personnel fromprivate firms as well as subcontracting individuals (Nemeth, 2011).As a result, these individuals often hire private security officersand body guards for their own protection as well as for the securityof their properties. Again, private security officers are the chiefguard of most businesses, casinos and shopping malls. Indeed,political figures and the entire community have realized thesignificance of private security especially, due to the insufficientnumber of hired public law enforcement officers that are required toprotect and serve them.


Nemeth,C.P. (2011). PrivateSecurity and the Law.Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Ortmeier,P.J. (2013). Introductionto Security: Operations and Management.(4thed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.