In theory the goal of Law Enforcement agencies is to prevent and reduce crime, in practice most of their resources are depleted in response to rather than the prevention of crime. Statewide Patrol on the other hand is primarily concerned with maintaining order, apprehending criminals and enforcing laws within a constitutionally and statutorily mandated criminal justice system.
Statewide Patrol’s standing guards project authority, professionalism, and confidence. The look of our uniform closely resembles those of law enforcement; including a metal badge, brass nametag, shoulder patches, and appropriate rank.
Statewide Patrol requires all of our officers to wear a full duty belt including: handcuffs, flashlight, and communications. Qualified officers may also carry a firearm, O.C. (Pepper) spray, and/or an expandable baton. Statewide Patrol is proud to provide the look and quality of professional security services.
Our unique combination of professional capabilities; experience, training, knowledge, and management, allow Statewide Patrol, Inc. to provide exemplary professional security services for your protection needs, and your need for peace of mind.
Friday, June 03, 2011
Private security mimicking cops promotes confusion
Should average citizens be able to tell the difference between private security and law enforcement, or should private security firms be allowed to openly mimic law enforcement in ways that may confuse the public? A reader forwards an email complaining about a Texas security firm called "Statewide Patrol" whose cars and uniforms intentionally mimic professional law enforcement, as evidenced by the vehicles above. The company's website pitches their services as a substitute for real cops, announcing that "Public law enforcement coverage is being spread thinner and thinner.
communities have become aware and alarmed by the situation. With greater frequency Statewide Patrol is being asked to fill some of the voids left by the depleting ranks of Law Enforcement." Further, according to their site, while: Texas
Why would it be important that "The look of our uniform closely resembles those of law enforcement" if the company's aim wasn't to foster confusion among those who encounter their employees? Police have certain powers and command a certain deference from the public that does not apply to private security, but these fellows are all but impersonating police officers. I'm sure they don't clarify the distinction when they're " apprehending criminals and enforcing laws," as stated on their website. The person who forwarded me the link declared "This particular company is creepy to me b/c they are trying HARD to look like state troopers. DPS doesn't give a hoot--they've got them listed as a sanctioned 'private security bureau' on their website."
In addition to seeming to mislead the public about the status of their employees, the company also has some misleading statements in press releases on their site, one of which breathlessly warns of the "continued rise in crime in the country," despite crime overall declining in Texas for more than a decade. Further, many of their employees listed on the DPS website (e.g., here, here, here, here, here, and here) have expired security officer licenses. (Perhaps DPS simply isn't keeping their website up to date, but the majority of Statewide Patrol employees I sampled this morning were listed as having expired licenses.)
Impersonating a police officer is supposed to be a crime, not a business model. There's certainly a role for private security, but they shouldn't cross the line and begin impersonating cops. While I'm sure some of their employees are licensed officers moonlighting as private security, average citizens won't know if they're dealing with an actual law-enforcement officer or just a wannabe, and that's clearly intentional. These guys are no more patrol officers than Junior Brown:
MORE: A commenter points out that the company claims the authority to "Apprehend and arrest suspects for crimes against you or your property," though of course private security do not have "arrest" powers. What hubris! Further, a sign they provide "free" to customers declares that, "All vehicles and persons on this property are subject to being stopped and questioned," and that "All persons on this property are subject to search as this is private property." (Emphasis in original.) I'm not sure that's true, anymore than I have the right to stop, question or search anyone who walks across my yard if there's no reason to believe they've committed a crime. (Their client list includes apartment complexes and homeowners associations, so if true, such authority would presumably include visitors going to and from private residences.) Between intentionally mimicking police dress and claiming unwarranted "arrest" and "search" authority, this company really does seem to be pushing the limits of propriety and legality.