Authority of Private Security Guards

Sec Auth Flow 2

Security Officers have the same authority to enforce the laws as a private citizen.  They are limited only by their knowledge of the laws they are enforcing and parameters established by company policy and the client.  Here’s how it works:

The property owner contracts with a private security company to provide protection of the assets under their ownership.  This contract makes the private security company and its employees an agent of the owner.  As an agent of the owner, security companies and their employees – security officers – are afforded the same rights to protect the property.

Law enforcement activities by private security should be consistent with what is in the best interest of the client.  The security officer should view protecting the property as if it was their own.  Decisions need to be made that will help retain the most value to the property.  This includes keeping tenants rights protected such as their right to live peacefully, with minimal noise and air pollution.  It includes parking enforcement to maintain orderly space requirements.  It also includes keeping trespassers from becoming prowlers, burglars or vandals.

When security orders a trespasser off of the property they have a legal right to do this, and the trespasser has an obligation to follow the direction.  Options for handling trespassers vary by police agency.  Sworn law enforcement agencies at various locations have different policies based on how the district attorney is prosecuting, and how department policy is allocating resources for lower-level crimes according to their budget. 

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