Charlotte NC October 20 2018
Many are beginning to notice that private law enforcement is growing in the United States.
Local and state police agencies are faced with the challenges of recruiting qualified applicants and in some areas, the numbers of applicants are at an all-time low.
Private police officers and police departments are nothing new in the US, though many people may not be aware of who is working for a private agency or their local city law enforcement agency.
Private police officers are often found working at colleges and universities, hospitals, large corporations, airports and a variety of businesses that need more than security guards.
A new proposed law in Michigan would make it easier for a business or other entity to form a special police force with trained law enforcement officers.
Supporters say that the law would allow for private police to serve as additional police on the street and give more security options to business groups.
The Enhanced Security and Public Safety Act would allow privately funded police forces. The bill, introduced in 2017, is in the Senate Government Operations Committee.
In North Carolina, state statues define the authority of a private law enforcement agency and its officers and mandates that their training be exactly the same as any law enforcement officer. Meaning that they all complete the same 17-week academy training and must qualify in all areas before earning the Basic Law Enforcement Training certificate.
About 10 percent of law enforcement in North Carolina are special police including 69 special police agencies that serve communities and 49 agencies that are owned by private business and properties. They are held to the same standards as public agencies, according to North Carolina law.
Ohio too has a strong private police presence with many officers working at schools, libraries, metropolitan colleges and universities, hospitals and for some departments within local government.
“We serve as a force multiplier for municipal police,” said Chief Roy Taylor of the Capitol Special Police in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Our primary purpose is to serve as more law enforcement on the streets. Our funding just comes from a different place.”
Currently, 37 states in the US have laws that either authorize private police status or gives security officers private police while on duty for their client.
Among the private security firms who have formed their own private police agencies are G4S, AlliedUniversal, and Securitas.