As the owner of a private security firm I am always trying to stay current on security trends, techniques, new technology, laws pertaining to the profession etc. I figure that it is my responsibility to acquire and pass on this knowledge to both my staff and clients (existing and potential)alike. That is why the article entitled; Police Ethics Inquiry Broadens, which appeared in the Metro section of the Washington Post (Sunday, June 24, 2007) caught my eye.

More and more we are being asked by business owners such as; Restaurants, Movie Theatres, Night Clubs, Bowling Alleys, Convention Centers, etc. who want to know if they can replace the off-duty police officers that they hire with our security officers. My answer is always the same; not only can we provide comparable security services (and in some areas – superior servcies), but we can add to their bottom line by saving them 30% or more off their hourly rate. To further protect our clients, we carry our own professional liability insurance – $5 million dollars and in addition, we have separate workman’s comp. insurance to cover all work related injuries.

The ongoing investigation in Montgomery County concerns a local property management company who hired a number of off-duty Montgomery County cops to provide security. Apparently, nine of those officers have been suspended. The investigation involves police officers who were believed to be “double dipping” – that means they are suspected of having worked and charged as much as $50.00 an hour for so-called off duty work when they were actually supposed to be working for the County.

Of course if this property management company in Silver Spring had hired a professional private security company, this whole embarrassing incident could have been avoided. Many people think that they need to hire off-duty police to protect their businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. Police officers are already being paid by the tax payers to protect and serve. It saddens me when I hear a client tell me that they use off-duty police in case anything happens they will be sure of getting a response.

As a fomer Law Enforcement officer myself, I know that the police should not have to pressure a business into hiring them and paying them high hourly rates to ensure that one of their colleagues will show up if there is a problem. They must show up -that is why they swore an oath upon their graduation from the police academy. If they do not show up when they are called, a complaint should be lodged just as you would with any other business who did not deliver on their promise to properly serve. We have excellent police departments in the United States and we need to keep it that way. The last thing we want or need is to have to bribe the police in oder for them to do their jobs like they have to resort to in many central and south american countries.

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  1. jmaccauley says:

    As a career police officer, I have to agree that hired cops do not always offer the level of service that the business owner expects or deserves. I have worked many of these jobs over my 27 year career and have watched in embarrassment as an officer will tell the manager of a business to “call the police” when there is a problem. A long time lazy officer once told me that this is extra duty, we don’t have to work hard. Great image. I have seen private security officers outshine their sworn counterparts. I have even recruited many of them.

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