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Should Police Moonlight in Security Jobs?

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 27 Issue: 6 Dated: (June 1983) Pages: 9-12,14-15,17-18
J J Keely; J H Ryan
Date Published
8 pages
In addition to reporting the results of a survey on the use of off-duty police officers in security work, a paper favoring their use and one opposing it are presented.
In September 1982, readers of Security Management magazine were asked to express their views on the use of off-duty police officers as private security guards. Sixty-three percent of the respondents said their companies did not use off-duty police officers, while 37 percent did. In expressing their personal feelings on the issue, 58 percent of the respondents were against the practice while 42 percent favored it. The pro and con reasons are generally expressed in the papers included in this article. Those favoring the use of off-duty police officers in security work argue that they are better trained than private security officers and have more authority and expertise in handling a wide variety of security incidents. The wearing of a police uniform in the security function is also believed to provide a deterrence that does not accompany the symbol of the security guard's uniform. Arguments against the use of off-duty police in security functions are as follows: (1) the practice promotes unfair competition in the hiring of security personnel; (2) police officers are not necessarily qualified to be private security officers; (3) police officers working off-duty face increased stress; (4) the public runs the risk of increased danger; and (5) police officers are vulnerable to increased physical and legal assaults.