Charlotte NC Sept 28 2018
This week, two off-duty security officers were shot to death while trying to intercede or prevent a crime.
In one case, a security officer employed by a company and not working at the time, was shot to death at an apartment complex where he lived and where he also worked part time as a security officer.
The Houston police investigation states that the man however, was not working security at the time of his death but may have had a confrontation with someone prior to his death.
In another off-duty shooting, the security officer was off-duty, and observed a man hitting a woman with his fist and stepped in to defend the woman. He was shot and killed.
Police officers, may, if their agency’s policy allows it, take “police actions” to stop a crime in progress, prevent criminal activity or to safeguard the general public.
In these situations, officers who were “off-duty” are now “on-duty” and if injured, would be covered by their employer’s Workers Compensation insurance should they be injured during this time and would also be fully covered by the police department’s General Liability should there be any allegations of misconduct, excessive use of force or a lawsuit filed.
In the event that the police officer is fatally wounded while engaged in this police action, the officer or deputy’s family, would receive all customary benefits of any officer killed while “on-duty”.
But in similar interventions by “off-duty” security officers, whether employed by a business or not, the security officer has “no-duty” to act, and is classified by law as a civilian, and therefore, no insurance carrier of the security officer’s employer, would be inclined to approve any medical insurance claims or issue any death benefit payouts.
Civil trials previously in these scenarios have always sided with the insurance carriers of the employer because the security officer was not acting within the scope of his duties, was not on the property of the employer or client and was under no contractual agreement with the business.
Sadly, well intentioned Good Samaritans have frequently suffered for their actions and have been seriously injured and killed just because it wasn’t in them to stand back and see a crime occur or a person injured at the hands of another.
Nationally, security officers prevent crime and save lives. They make the difference before first responders arrive to emergencies and they often put themselves in harm’s way.
While on duty, insurance companies and employers are legally bound to compensate for injuries or damages sustained during these times. Off duty, you’re an individual, responsible for your own actions and liabilities. Balance and clear thinking must be assessed before any off-duty actions are taken.
Private Officer International