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Thread: Off-duty cop & security guard - limited as a cop, or empowered as an agent of the ...

  1. #1
    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Off-duty cop & security guard - limited as a cop, or empowered as an agent of the ...

    Off-duty cop takes job as security guard. Not uncommon. So here's the question - when he's acting as a security guard, is he not empowered as an agent of the company he's working for? In such a case, he's not "restricted" per se as he would be acting as a police officer on public property. In this case some guys were audio/video recording in front of Wal-Mart. The security guard apparently had a huge issue with it and seems to over-react a bit. As a police officer he would have clearly been out-of-line and would have had no authority to tell them to stop filming. But, as Wal-Mart, including the parking lot, is private property, would they not have the authority to tell someone to quit recording on their property? And so then, if they would, would the security guard, as an agent of the private company controlling the property, not also have been within right to tell them to stop recording?

    This is all not taking into consideration Wal-Mart's policy on the issue or the "reasonableness" of the level of force used by the guard. I simply am asking whether or not it would have been legitimate for him to tell them to stop recording. I believe it would be.

    News coverage of the example incident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcouU9SW3-0

    FYI: My first reaction was that the guard was way out of line and had no right to tell them to stop recording. However, after thinking about it, I changed my mind and so I decided to post this thread and ask your opinion. I believe the issue is confused by the fact he's an off-duty officer. IMO that is irrelevant. He didn't identify as a police officer and was not acting as such. He was a security guard placed in control of the property and was acting as such. I don't believe he was being reasonable or professional, and perhaps actually ended up assaulting the two men as the level of force used doesn't seem reasonable at all, but was probably within his rights in telling them to stop recording, in my opinion.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Police should not be permitted to moonlight as private security, regardless of to what extent they are considered "still on duty".

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    He wouldn't have the authority to tell them to "stop recording," but he MAY have the authority to trespass them (for any reason).

    It is a rare (sadly) individual that can properly wear two different hats at different times and respect each properly.

    There is added confusion if he known to be a police officer for his other job.

    It should be illegal for an officer to wear his police uniform when on a different job.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

  4. #4
    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    He wouldn't have the authority to tell them to "stop recording," but he MAY have the authority to trespass them (for any reason).

    It is a rare (sadly) individual that can properly wear two different hats at different times and respect each properly.

    There is added confusion if he known to be a police officer for his other job.

    It should be illegal for an officer to wear his police uniform when on a different job.
    Bold added, good point. You never know when subtle little differences like that could become critical

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post


    It should be illegal for an officer to wear his police uniform when on a different job.
    It is in most places improper for a cop to wear his uniform while on a 2nd job.

    And the cop can tell you to leave the property ... but cannot tell you to stop recording when you're off or leaving.

    He cannot immediately arrest you ... must give you opportunity to know you are trespassing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    It is in most places improper for a cop to wear his uniform while on a 2nd job.

    And the cop can tell you to leave the property ... but cannot tell you to stop recording when you're off or leaving.

    He cannot immediately arrest you ... must give you opportunity to know you are trespassing.
    I've worked these assignments in three different states- MA, HI and WA. What they are called varies... "off-duty" "detail" etc.

    For example, back east when a paving company was paving one of our main roads, they hired us to direct traffic. In some states, many of these companies use trained "flaggers". In WA, the flaggers have to take a class before they can work as a flagger and they do a pretty good job.

    The advantage of having a cop at a traffic detail is that some people who will ignore flaggers, because they know the worst thing that can happen is the flagger writes down their license plate and might call the police if you speed through the worksite or whatever, but when a cop is working, those same people will usually stop. The overwhelming majority of people will stop for flaggers and it's much cheaper to use them (police off-duty rates around here hover at over $50/hr).

    High Schools will hire us for security, sports teams (there are both Seattle cops and King County deputies at Mariners and Seahawks games) will hire us, etc.
    Even when working an "off-duty", an officer retains his powers, some powers that private security does not - the right to detain on reasonable suspicion, the ability to run names for warrants, etc. Both major seattle sports teams believe it's better to hire cops for security gigs at their stadiums.

    One of my good friends and my academy classmate was killed during an off-duty - directing traffic at a road site and there was a lot of back and forth disagreements over whether his wife would receive state and federal benefits that cops get when killed "in the line of duty". Even an off-duty cop's family gets those benefits if a cop is off-duty, but acting in official capacity (like interrupting a bank robbery while off duty)

    Gene's wife ended up getting the line of duty benefits, which is awesome. He was directing traffic on a public roadway, in uniform. he was getting paid by the construction company, but directing traffic is a police function and when you do it in uniform on a public way etc. you get the benefits - at least in HI

    Very interesting guy. Was somewhat fluent in Greek, conversant in Russian, and worked in military intelligence for years.

    http://www.odmp.org/officer/15284-po...lgene-williams

    Different agencies have different restrictions on these details.

    As for your comment about wearing the uniform on a 2nd job. One can only wear the uniform on a second job when the job is an official 'off-duty' which means the company comes to the police dept to request officers, the assignment is vetted and if it meets the criteria, the notices will be put out requesting officers. Those are off-duties and one can wear a uniform if requested, but some off-duties actually request non-uniformed officers, too

    Those are distinguishable from 2nd jobs, which have ot be not police related or cause a conflict of interest, or sully the reputation of the PD, etc. In some agencies, you can't work a 2nd job at an establishment that serves liquor for instance (no bartending or bouncing, etc.), in others you can but certainly not in a capacity as a server. You can't do private investigation on the side. You can't work as an investigator for a defense attorney. There's been some controversy over a case where an officer worked a second job as a male stripper. I can't recall the outcome, but in brief, if there is any question about the propriety of the job, you check with your agency first. I worked as a personal trainer for a while, and that was considered fine. One of my friends works for AFLAC and that's ok, too. So, personal off duty employment is different from "off duties" (we called them "details" in MA). In the former you are working in your police capacity, almost always in uniform, but for a private business. Another huge source off of duties is concerts. The 2nd job employments you rae not working in your police capacity, certainly cannot wear a uniform, and are restricted to only certain kinds of jobs.

    There are also a bunch of large apartment complexes and HOA's that hire cops. The HOA's pay extra to have cops in patrol cars, patrol their streets -whether public or private or both and enforce applicable laws (like speeding if the road is a public way). In the HOA's with private roadways connecting houses, officers cannot enforce traffic infractions but can enforce traffic CRIMES like DUI or reckless driving. They can stop suspicious persons on RAS, check people for warrants, etc. One HOA near me with all private roads has a no soliciting rule, which officers also enforce by telling the solicitors to leave, and if they refuse (never happened that I have heard of), they could arrest for trespass, since the HOA will, in the employment contract authorize the officers to enforce trespassing laws. I almost never work off-duties. I almost never volunteer for (plentiful ) overtime either but many cops make a substantial portion of their yearly wages through off-duties
    Last edited by PALO; 09-09-2013 at 02:54 AM.

  7. #7
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    The problems with hiring "off duty" cops are many. But it comes down to that moment when the "off duty" cop decides to utilize his power of arrest - he is no longer "off duty".

    Around here private security guards can be commissioned as Conservators of the Peace with full police powers - it's just limited to the geographic limits spelled out on their commission - usually something like "within the property boundaries of <insert name of company they are hired by>. They do not have hot-pursuit powers but can enforce state law as well as company policy within their boundaries. Gated communities are the biggest employers but some of the larger industrial plants also have them.

    Hiring "off duty" cops for private security jobs has a number of conflicts attached. They unfairly compete with private security companies who must maintain all sorts of record-keeping and monitoring/superevision as well as business licenses and insurance coverages. For the most part they are public employees providing their public services to and for the sole benefit of one business - how many times have you known an "off duty" cop to leave his employer's property to respond to a crime taking place within eyesight of his post? Which sort of negates the "I'm a cop on duty 24/7 argument because an on-duty cop would be expected to respond to a crime committed in his plain view.

    I have always had a simple test for determining if a cop was "on duty" or "off duty" - who pays the worker's comp claim for an injury? If the cop was truely off duty the employer would be liable. However, it seems it is the taxpayers who invariably pick up the tab.

    "Off duty" cops hired at road construction sites are not hired to warn motorists and signal when to stop or proceed. They claim the power to enforce all the state's motor vehicle laws (I have seen them get away with making DUI arrests and issuing citations for defective equipment). All of which are far outside the job duties of a flagger and destroy PALO's argument that it is the mere presence of the uniform that prevents drivers from ignoring the directions of a flagger. His friend's wife receiving line of duty death benefitsprove he was not "off duty". As do almost all the other examples of "off duty" security work by cops.

    I will close by addesssing the difference in cost of hiring an "off duty" cop and hiring a private security guard. PALO says the average pay is $50/hr. A private security company charging that much would need to be offering some seriously high-level service to command that price. The only thing that pops into my mind immediately is private security that guards nuclear power plants (there are probably a few others, but not many). And that $50/hr covers not only the wage of the private security guard but the entire overhead of operating the company. - so figure out how much the private security guard gets of that $50/hr.

    I do not expect to ever see the emtrenched practice ended, but that will not stop me from being PO's every time I see it.

    stay safe.
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  8. #8
    Regular Member XD40sc's Avatar
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    Off duty cops told to leave guns at home when providing security at stadium.
    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/loca...y-offic/nZpWj/
    Last edited by XD40sc; 09-09-2013 at 06:54 AM.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Some police said the new rule won't make fans safer.

    They claim if the worst-case scenario of an active shooter ever happened, they wouldn't be able to help.

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/loca...y-offic/nZpWj/
    A citizen must not be permitted to defend themselves from a active shooter, but a cop should be able to defend themselves from a active shooter.....OK.

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