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Many states, such as Virginia, are training private security officers in order to ensure smooth cooperation and coordination between security companies without police powers and the police and sheriff's departments. In Washington D.C., the municipal police department requires private security officers to be licensed as "special police" officers in order to legally search or arrest people. Cooperation can reach significant proportions, as in the case of the Minneapolis Police Department's "SafeZone" program, which place private security officers downtown who now outnumber Minneapolis Police Department officers there 13 to 1.
4. Industries and organizations that use special and/or commissioned officers and for what purposes
a. There is a truly broad range of industries and organizations which use special police officers. These organizations tend to have significant financial resources, large premises, and sensitive security needs which they believe cannot be met by the existing public police force. These often involve the need to have an officer permanently standing guard on the premises who have the authority to investigate potential criminal situations and detain individuals.
b. The reasons for unmet security needs often arise because of limitations in resources and manpower or limitations created by the particular policing strategy of the private organization. For example, department stores hire private security officers for loss prevention purposes because most police departments will not commit their limited manpower to stand guard at a store. Private residential communities often hire private security officers with police power because of the increased risk of property crime faced by rich private communities.
c. Even local governments themselves hire private security forces to assist the public police department in patrolling broader areas. This is particularly true of those local governments which lack the resources to increase their police forces. These government often receive help in funding the hiring of these private security forces from interested private parties themselves. For example, Target and other Minneapolis companies paid for a wireless video camera system in Downtown Minneapolis which private security forces share with the Minneapolis Police Department.
5. Miranda Rights
a. The 4th Amendment requires arresting agents to read an arrested individual the individual's Constitutional Rights within a reasonable period after formally arresting the individual. These are the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and a caveat that anything the arrestee says can be used against him in a court of law. These rights are collectively known as Miranda rights after the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona.
b. Among hospital staff, the only persons who would have to read Miranda rights to an arrestee would be a private security officer with valid police powers who is arresting the individual pursuant to the powers and responsibilities vested in him by the appropriate authority. Also, the private security officer should also be exercising his powers in pursuance to the job duties and directions provided to the officer by the employer, both in employment contract as well as through less formal communications.
6. Detention of individuals by private security officers and the circumstances in which individuals are detained
7. Generally, individuals in custody are given court procedural justice protections by the Sixth Amendment in addition to the search and seizure protections they enjoy under the 4th and 5th Amendments. The Sixth Amendment protections guarantee a right to representation by an attorney and the right to a speedy trial. Search and seizure law protects individuals from undue coercion and harassment of an arrested individual by an officer after the individual has entered the custody of the officer. These protections strengthen if an individual exercises the Miranda Right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
8. Evidentiary issues in the investigation of crime and arrest of individuals.
a. The exclusionary rule prohibits the government from profiting from its own misconduct in violating the 4th, 5th 6th, Amendments. Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used to prove the guilt of the defendant. Furthermore, the "Fruit of the Posionous Tree" doctrine extends the exclusionary rule to all evidence derived from the exploitation of the illegally obtained evidence. Illegally obtained evidence of the fruits thereof, however, may be admitted for the limited use of impeaching the defendant's testimony in a criminal trial.
Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, the Private Arm of the Law…[continue]
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