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Criminology Privatization of Policing
by
James F. Pastor

Introduction

Privatization of police is quite controversial. It has strong opposition from wide-ranging viewpoints and interests. These criticisms have economic, operational, accountability, legal/constitutional, and sovereignty concerns. Each has powerful and compelling logic. They also are posited by powerful and passionate detractors. On the other side of the debate, advocates for privatization tend to see any such criticisms in a more dispassionate, pragmatic manner. Many, if not most, of these views, center on the notion that the status quo is not working, or is not adequate to provide for sufficient levels of public safety services. In the end, this debate may center on those who desire to preserve a government “monopoly” on policing versus those who desire to expand the notion of public safety to private-sector personnel and firms that provide “security” services. The former tend to advocate for government-based solutions, while the latter advocate for market-based solutions. Consequently, the privatization-of-police debate represents a larger worldview oriented around whether government or market forces are the primary solution to human and societal challenges and problems.

General Overviews

There are a number of texts on police privatization. In this context, general overviews are works that provide sufficient scope and depth to this wide-ranging topic. One of the most comprehensive general treatments is Johnston 1992. Additional general overviews of merit are Pastor 2003, Button 2002, Benson 1990, Donahue 1989, and Jones and Newburn 1998. Each of these texts delves into the notion of private policing, as well as the larger issues surrounding privatization.

  • Benson, Bruce L. 1990. The enterprise of law: Justice without state. San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy.

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    Benson approaches privatization from an economic orientation, analyzing the criminal justice system, not just private policing. His economic analysis of public versus private justice is both intellectually fair and comprehensive. In doing so, it is an important contribution to the privatization literature. His data and logic are compelling. The book is suitable for upper-level undergraduate students, and for graduate students in criminal justice.

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  • Button, Mark. 2002. Private policing. Devon, UK: Willan.

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    Button examines the origins of private policing, including its definitions and classifications. The work is a concise account of private policing, placing it into context with public police. It also delves into the changing relationship between public and private policing. This dynamic foretells greater emphasize on private policing in the future. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Donahue, John D. 1989. The privatization decision. New York: Basic Books.

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    This is a thorough and balanced account of the issues relating to privatization. Donahue concisely develops the pros and cons of privatization in a manner that is both broad-ranging and understandable. He delves into each of the issues relative to privatization. In doing so, Donahue provides the scope and level of analysis of this significant subject. The book is a must-read for privatization researchers. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Johnston, Les. 1992. The rebirth of private policing. London: Routledge.

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    This book is the seminal account of private policing. It provides an excellent overview of police history and the emergence of private police, with a provocative analysis of private policing in relation to state social controls. The author also compares private policing to public policing, providing insight into the advantages of private policing. It is a must-read and is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Jones, Trevor, and Tim Newburn.1998. Private security and public policing. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    In an early empirical study, Jones and Newburn examine the growth of private policing and its relationship with, and implications for, public policing. The authors effectively rethink the meaning of “policing” in light of the advent of private policing. The book provides an insightful comparison and contrast of the approach and work product of public and private policing. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Pastor, James F. 2003. The privatization of police in America: An analysis and case study. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

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    Pastor analyzes the relevant issues of privatization and applies these to a private-policing case study. This book provides an overview of historic, economic, and operational issues, but places particular emphasis on the legal and functional implications of private policing. The author’s research included riding along with private police officers as they patrolled public streets on the South Side of Chicago. This methodology provides groundbreaking insight into and analysis of this subject. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Conceptual Treatments

Understanding privatization of police as a concept is an important contribution to this subject. A number of authors have organized key issues and applied them to private policing. These include the foundational works Spitzer and Scull 1977 and Shearing and Stenning 1983. These articles form the basis of much of the subsequent work on private-policing researchers. They are important contributions to the subject. Later research by Benson 1997 and Bayley and Shearing 2001 articulates the relevant concepts related to privatization in an organized and forward-thinking manner.

  • Bayley, David H., and Clifford D. Shearing. 2001. The new structure of policing. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

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    This report forms the basis of how private policing can be viewed, weaving key components of both public and private policing into a policing “model.” It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Benson, Bruce L. 1997. Privatization in criminal justice. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

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    Benson develops an excellent overview of key privatization concepts. In this research, privatization of the entire criminal justice system is assessed. The report is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. It may be ordered online.

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  • Shearing, Clifford D., and Philip C. Stenning. 1983. Private security: Implications for control. Social Problems 30.5: 493–506.

    DOI: 10.1525/sp.1983.30.5.03a00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is an early account of private policing from two visionary researchers. It provides an excellent conceptual foundation on this comprehensive subject. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Spitzer, Steven, and Andrew T. Scull. 1977. Privatization and capitalist development: The case of the private police. Social Problems 25.1: 18–28.

    DOI: 10.1525/sp.1977.25.1.03a00030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a foundational analysis of key private policing concepts. It is an important primer for later works, and for researchers seeking to get a sense of the development of privatization literature. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Government and Privatization: The Intellectual Debate

Since privatization has its proponents and its opponents, it may be helpful to provide researchers with thoughtful, yet concise, treatments of privatization from particular worldviews. In general, there are two intellectual positions related to privatization: those that support public employment (government-based solutions), and those that support private employment (market-based solutions). Proponent works for public employment, such as Paul 2007, Morgan 1992, Hebdon 1995, and Shenk 1995, argue against privatization. They often advocate for public employment unions and articulate critical deficiencies (or potential deficiencies) related to privatization arrangements. Proponent works for privatization, of course, see it differently. Linowes 1988 and Savas 2000 contend that privatization has a host of benefits, typically focusing on economic, fiscal, and operational attributes. In addition, General Accounting Office 1997 provides an objective voice to this debate.

  • General Accounting Office. 1997. Privatization: Lessons learned by state and local governments. Report to the Chairman, House Republican Task Force on Privatization. Washington, DC: General Accounting Office.

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    This is a comprehensive and balanced report on privatization. It provides and describes a series of best practices and pitfalls. Suitable for upper-level undergraduate students, and for graduate students in criminal justice. Available online.

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  • Hebdon, R. 1995. Contracting out in New York State: The story the Lauder Report chose not to tell. Labor Studies Journal 20.1: 3–24.

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    This article criticizes a report declaring the beneficial affects of privatization. Hebdon articulates a number of factors that he contends make privatization problematic. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Linowes, David F. 1988. Privatization: Toward more effective government; Report of the President’s Commission on Privatization. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

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    Although this report emanates from the federal government, it is geared toward a pro-privatization approach. Linowes highlights certain successful privatization arrangements. It is suitable for upper-level undergraduate students, and for graduate students in criminal justice.

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  • Morgan, David R. 1992. The pitfalls of privatization: Contracting without competition. American Review of Public Administration 22.4: 251–268.

    DOI: 10.1177/027507409202200401Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Morgan critiques the notion of privatization, asserting that without competition, police privatization will be problematic. His thesis is that legitimate competition between private firms is required for privatization to be beneficial. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Paul, Ari. 2007. Pushing back against privatization. The American Prospect, 3 August.

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    This piece criticizes privatization. It trumpets certain successes in this debate. Paul presents some legislation that has benefited labor unions against the wishes of those who seek to privatize. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Savas, E. S. 2000. Privatization and public-private partnerships. New York: Chatham House.

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    Savas’s broad-ranging approach is comprehensive. This analysis of privatization includes an important section related to private policing. It is suitable for upper-level undergraduate students, and for graduate students in criminal justice.

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  • Shenk, Joshua Wolf. 1995. The perils of privatization. The Washington Monthly 27.5: 16–23.

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    This article takes a critical view of privatization. Shenk contends that privatization has its inevitable constraints and perils. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Scope of Police Privatization

In order to get a sense of why and how private policing is relevant, it is important to assess the scope of private policing. Research on this data is outlined here. For example, Cunningham, et al. 1991 is the first-ever comprehensive study of the private security industry. This was followed by Cunningham and Taylor 1994. Studies of the private security industry in other countries are also listed. These include Prenzler 2005, an analysis of the Australian security industry; Swol 1998, an analysis in Canada; and Sarre 2005, a study of European countries.

  • Cunningham, William C., John J. Strauchs, and Cliffiord W. Van Meter. 1991. Private security: Patterns and trends. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

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    This study is the initial groundbreaking assessment of the private security industry. It has formed the basis for much discussion and subsequent analysis. For researchers of private policing, this is a must-read. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Cunningham, William C., and Todd H. Taylor. 1994. The growing role of private security. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

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    This is a follow-up study of the foundational Cunningham, et al. 1991. Partly due to the controversy stemming from the initial study, this research served to validate and support the documented scope of the private security industry. The report is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Prenzler, Tim. 2005. Mapping the Australian security industry. Security Journal 18.4: 51–64.

    DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.sj.8340211Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study assesses the Australian security industry, both in terms of its size and its functional applications. Prenzler provides an excellent foundation for subsequent research of the security industry in Australia. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Sarre, Rick. 2005. Researching private policing: Challenges and agendas for researchers. Security Journal 18.3: 57–70.

    DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.sj.8340204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sarre analyzes the research issues related to private policing. He pointedly, yet briefly, assesses contemporary and future research challenges in this growing industry. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Swol, Karen. 1998. Private security and public policing in Canada. Juristat 18.13: 1–12.

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    This study is an assessment of the private security industry in Canada. It includes both a statistical analysis of the industry and its relationship with public policing. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Contemporary Accounts

The study of private policing is a relatively new research field. Compared to many other intellectual subjects, private policing is both new and dynamic. Given these circumstances, much of the contemporary accounts of private policing do not derive from academic researchers. Instead, they come from media accounts and industry observers. Due to the dynamic and growing nature of private policing, it may be useful to assess contemporary accounts from various sources. For example, Brown 2004 takes a critical view of private policing, viewing it as replacing police jobs. Conversely, Lowrey 2003 advocates for private police to perform alarm response services. Similarly, Avila 2008, Bellman 2008, Colson 2008, Heredia 2008, Jones 2009, and Leiser 2008 each provide explanations of circumstances where private policing is being used to supplement public police agencies. Each of these accounts demonstrates how crime or extremist violence is motivating the involvement of private policing.

  • Avila, Oscar. 2008. Mexico City’s crime rate is like gold for security firms. Chicago Tribune, 20 May.

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    This article discusses the dramatic increase of private security in Mexico. It reports on the rise of violent crime, particularly of the drug gangs, and the response from fearful citizens. These citizens are buying security in record numbers. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Bellman, Eric. 2008. A traumatized Mumbai seeks to protect itself. Wall Street Journal, 18 December.

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    This article discusses the dramatic increase of private security in India. After the Mumbai attacks terrorized its citizens, the private security industry has experienced dramatic growth throughout the country. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Brown, Cynthia. 2004. Outsourcing police jobs: Cops replaced by civilians to cut costs. American Police Beat 11.12: 15–22.

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    This article is written from a police union perspective. It discusses the use of private police as a supplement to municipal police. It is a critical analysis, viewing private police as taking away public police jobs. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Colson, John. 2008. RFTA bus security armed with stun guns. Aspen Times, 10 January.

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    Due to rising crime within the transportation system, security personnel are being armed with stun guns to act as a deterrent against criminal attacks. This article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Heredia, Christopher. 2008. Oakland may hire armed security guards. San Francisco Chronicle, 16 April.

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    This article describes why, due to budgetary constraints and rising crime, city administrators may be forced to hire armed security. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Jones, Carolyn. 2009. Expecting more protests, city to hire guards. San Francisco Chronicle, 16 January.

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    Due to protests from a police shooting incident, city and police administrators decide to hire private security to help protect the city. This article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Leiser, Ken. 2008. Guards’ visibility reassures riders. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 21 September.

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    Due to rising crime within the transportation system, security personnel are employed to act as a deterrent against criminal attacks. This article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Lowrey, Michael. 2003. Incentives, privatization help city police: Charlotte addresses burglar alarm abuse through creative program. Carolina Journal Online. 17 November.

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    This article describes how private police provide alarm response services. The cost-cutting program described focuses on the budgetary and operational constraints of alarm response, and how private police can help to relieve fiscal challenges. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Economic and Operational Issues

The issue of private policing has many facets. One key component is how economic and operational factors contribute to those who advocate the privatization of police. For example, Blackstone and Hakim 2002 contends that the incidence of false alarms can be resolved through private means. Similarly, Benson 1996 argues for economic resolution to criminal justice operations. Palango 1998 uses a more basic argument: budget cuts mean a greater need for private security. Finally, both Miranda 1993 and Warner and Hefetz 2001 analyze the costs of local government and view privatization as a cost-effective benefit to constrained municipal budgets.

  • Benson, Bruce L. 1996. Are there trade offs between costs and quality in the privatization of criminal justice? Journal of Security Administration 19.2: 19–50.

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    Benson uses solid data and logic to argue for privatization within criminal justice. His knowledge of the system and his ability to frame market-based solutions to problems within the system are excellent. This article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Blackstone, Erwin A., and Simon Hakim. 2002. A market solution for false alarms. Privatization Watch 311 (November) 56–67.

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    These economists are highly regarded experts in the privatization literature. They provide a cogent, data- and logic-driven solution to the problem of responding to false alarms. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Miranda, Rowan A. 1993. Better city government for half the price? In Chicago’s future in a time of change. Edited by Richard Simpson, 432–439. Champaign, IL: Stipes.

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    This edited volume provides an excellent overview of the complexities and challenges in dealing with municipal budgets. Miranda focuses on fiscal and budget issues facing city government, particularly as it relates to public safety. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Palango, Paul. 1998. On the mean streets: As the police cut back, private cops are moving in. MacLean’s, 12 January, 10–14.

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    Palango provides real-life examples of how private police supplement police agencies. When municipal government is faced with budget cuts, he demonstrates the implementation of private policing as useful supplements of order maintenance services. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Warner, Mildred, and Amir Hefetz. 2001. Privatization and the market role of local government. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

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    The issue of privatization and local government is developed in this briefing paper. It is a useful, yet brief, reference for privatization researchers. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Accountability Issues

The question of accountability is one of the most common criticisms of private policing. Are private police accountable to the law, the community, and democratic ideals? How does this occur, if it does? What systemic accountability mechanisms are available? These questions and others relate to ensuring that private police are accountable. Sklanksy 2006 and Shenk 1995 question whether privatization would allow for sufficient levels of accountability. Davis and Dadush 2000 assesses private policing arrangements in three different cities in light of the various means used to foster accountability. Stenning 2000 conducts a similar analysis of private policing in light of its powers and accountability mechanisms. Goldstein 2007 provides some case examples and interviews to address this question. Joh 2006 focuses on the same issue, in an academic and comprehensive manner.

  • Davis, Robert C., and Sarah Dadush. 2000. The public accountability of private police: Lessons from New York, Johannesburg, and Mexico City. Washington, DC: Vera Institute of Justice.

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    This study of three cities, with much different approaches to private policing, is a valuable contribution to the privatization literature. In each of these cities, certain accountability elements are present, though the consistent application of such is questioned. The report is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Goldstein, Amy. 2007. The private arm of the law: Some question the granting of police power to security firms. Washington Post, 2 January.

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    As a Washington Post reporter, Goldstein provides a highly readable and informative critique of private policing. The article is a useful, yet brief, overview of the relevant issues relating to private policing. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Joh, Elizabeth E. 2006. The forgotten threat: Private policing and the state. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 13.2 (Summer): 357–389.

    DOI: 10.2979/GLS.2006.13.2.357Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is an excellent overview of key accountability issues related to private policing. Joh views the various arrangements where private police operate, and assesses how these arrangements affect democratic ideals. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Shenk, Joshua Wolf. 1995. The perils of privatization. The Washington Monthly 27.5: 16–23.

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    Shenk takes a critical view of privatization accountability. He notes several elements that make accountability problematic. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Sklansky, David Alan. 2006. Private police and democracy. American Criminal Law Review 43.1: 89–105.

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    This article raises the key questions relating to private policing. As an attorney, Sklansky views accountability from both a legal and systemic perspective. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Stenning, Philip C. 2000. Powers and accountability of private police. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 8.3 (September): 325–352.

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    As a long-time researcher of private policing, Stenning provides depth and breath to the question of private policing accountability. His objective and academic approach to the issue makes this article a must-read for researchers. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Legal and Constitutional Issues

Closely related to accountability, the question of legal and constitutional application of private policing is critical. There is often significant confusion over the precise legal powers of private police, and over whether constitutional prohibitions apply to their actions. Pastor 2006 and Nemeth 2005 present both case law and analytical approaches to the legal status of private policing. Inbau, et al. 1996 is an early, yet comprehensive, treatment of the legal issues related to security personnel. Enion 2009 provides an excellent legal analysis of these questions. Similarly, Sklansky 1999 also addresses these legal questions in a thorough manner.

  • Enion, M. Rhead. 2009. Constitutional limits on private policing and the state’s allocation of force. Duke Law Journal 59: 519–553.

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    This journal article is consistent with the theme of questioning the legal power of private policing. Enion makes the connection between the growth of private policing and the state’s monopoly on the use of force. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Inbau, Fred E., Bernard J. Farber, and David W. Arnold. 1996. Protective security law. 2d ed. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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    Though somewhat dated, this book is still a valuable contribution within private security and the law. It contains both cases and discussion. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Nemeth, Charles. 2005. Private security and the law. 2d ed. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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    This book also contains legal cases, though it is structured more as a text than a casebook. Nemeth provides a broad application of the legal issues in security. The book is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Pastor, James F. 2006. Security law and methods. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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    This casebook provides actual cases and analysis. It combines legal principles and security best practices. The book has specific chapters devoted to the issue of private policing, and others related to the larger security industry. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Sklansky, David Alan.1999. The private police. UCLA Law Review 46.4: 1165–1287.

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    This article assesses private police as an industry and from a legal vantage point. As a relatively early legal treatment, it is an important contribution to the analysis relating to private policing. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Sovereignty Issues

Taking the question of the legal and constitutional application of private policing one step further, the implications of private policing relative to the sovereignty of government represent the pinnacle or ultimate question on this subject. Understanding that the most basic purpose of government is to protect its citizens, the notion of a private firm performing protective services is very disconcerting to some observers and researchers. Indeed, the traditional governmental monopoly on the use of force is also affected by the introduction of private police into public environments. Needless to say, the use of force and the provision of protective services on the public way are controversial. Joh 2004 and Joh 2005 engage in comprehensive analysis of these questions. In an early work, Spitzer and Scull 1977 takes a more positive approach to this question, while Sklansky 2006 adopts a much more critical view.

  • Joh, Elizabeth E. 2004. The paradox of private policing. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 95.1: 49–132.

    DOI: 10.2307/3491382Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article argues that private police participate in much of the policing work that their public counterparts perform. In doing so, Joh assesses how the use of private police may enhance state and private controls within society. The article is suitable for graduate students.

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  • Joh, Elizabeth E. 2005. Conceptualizing the private police. Utah Law Review 2 (October): 574–617.

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    Joh develops the notion of private policing in relation to larger democratic ideals. This journal article is an excellent analysis of these issues. It is suitable for graduate students.

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  • Sklansky, David Alan. 2006. Private police and democracy. American Criminal Law Review 43.1: 89–105.

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    This article raises the key questions relating to private policing. As an attorney, Sklansky views accountability from both a legal and systemic perspective. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Spitzer, Steven, and Andrew T. Scull. 1977. Privatization and capitalist development: The case of the private police. Social Problems 25.1: 18–28.

    DOI: 10.1525/sp.1977.25.1.03a00030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a foundational analysis of key private policing and society. These authors provide the framework for subsequent studies of this important topic. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Crime and Public Safety Issues

The concerns raised by crime and public safety are commonly used by advocates of private policing. Since crime and public safety are often emotionally charged issues, these concerns are the trigger for many, if not most, private policing arrangements. As may be expected, much of this literature comes from the security industry. For example, Mokwa and Stoehner 1995 describes the implementation of private security in downtown St. Louis due to rising crime rates. Robinson 1996 and Seamon 1995 discuss similar private policing arrangements in different cities. From a policy perspective, Carlson 1995 and Reynolds 1994 argue for private policing in areas where crime is a significant concern. Finally, Clifford 2004 takes a more comprehensive approach, describing the use of security principles and methods to control crime.

  • Carlson, Tucker. 1995. Safety Inc.: Private cops are there when you need them. Policy Review 73 (Summer): 66–73.

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    This article argues for using private police when policing agencies cannot provide the level of crime control services needed to reduce crime. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Clifford, Mary. 2004. Identifying and exploring security essentials. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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    This book provides a comprehensive framework for students of security, criminal justice, and public safety. Clifford discusses the key issues and security methods designed to control crime. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Mokwa, Joseph, and Terrence W. Stoehner. 1995. Private security arches over St. Louis. Security Management, September.

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    This article illustrates and discusses how private police patrols were used to supplement local police. After crime rates caused concern within the downtown business and tourism district, private police were implemented. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Reynolds, Morgan O. 1994. Using the private sector to deter crime. Dallas, TX: National Center for Policy Analysis.

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    Reynolds argues that sound public policy dictates the need for applying private security to deter crime. He asserts that private security personnel are ready and able to perform crime prevention services. The report is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Robinson, Frank W. 1996. From blight to bliss. Security Management, February.

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    This article describes the transformation of a blighted area once the implementation of private police patrols was instituted. This arrangement used crime rates, occupancy rates, and surveys to explain this transformation. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Seamon, Thomas M. 1995. Private forces for public good. Security Management, September, 92–97.

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    As a former police executive, Seamon argues persuasively for the implementation of private police as a means to help police control crime. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Public-Private Policing

The transition from using security to help control crime, to a “partnership” approach with policing agencies has been the norm in the industry since the mid-1980s. The need to create a more “structured” crime reduction partnership has become quite popular in both policing and the security industry. Early advocates of this approach, Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken were “pioneers” in the development of the notion of public-private policing (Chaiken and Chaiken 1987). McLeod 2002 took this approach to the next level with the analogy of “para-police” to describe the relationship of private police to higher-paid and higher-trained public police officers. Public-private policing arrangements are described by industry professionals in Patterson 1995, Hyde 2001, Spadanuta 2008, and Anderson 2008. Finally, Walsh, et al 1992 and Pastor 2007 provide more academic-based frameworks to this subject.

  • Anderson, Teresa. 2008. Cooperation rules. Security Management, September, 95–106.

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    Anderson provides examples of cooperative public-private policing arrangements. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Chaiken, Marcia, and Jan Chaiken. 1987. Public policing—privately provided. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

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    This early work is a must-read for researchers. Chaiken and Chaiken help to develop the functional approach to public-private policing, as they articulate the various methods employed by private police. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Hyde, David. 2001. A theory of evolution. Canadian Security 23.5.

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    Hyde develops the public-private partnership model, using the analogy of evolution to frame the natural consequence occurring in policing. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • McLeod, Ross. 2002. Para-police: A revolution in the business of law enforcement. Toronto: Boheme Press.

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    In another must-read, McLeod, who was a former academic, stepped away from his teaching role and formed a security firm providing “para-policing” services. This book illustrated the logic, types of services, and struggles related to performing private policing. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Pastor, James F. 2007. Private policing in public environments. In Protection of assets manual. Alexandria, VA: ASIS International.

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    This chapter provides a comprehensive description of public-private policing. One significant aspect is its inclusion in the Protection of Assets Manual—considered the “bible” of the security industry. This work marked the first time the subject was given such status. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Patterson, Julien. 1995. Forging creative alliances. Security Management, January, 33–35.

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    This article describes alliances between public police and private security. The underlying basis was to describe and promote these public-private partnerships. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Spadanuta, Laura. 2008. Patrols gone private. Security Management, August, 20–22.

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    Spadanuta develops contemporary examples of private policing. This security industry article provides insight into how private policing has become more “mainstream.” It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Walsh, William F., Edwin J. Donovan, and James F. McNicholas. 1992. The Starrett Protective Service: Private policing in an urban community. In Privatizing the United States justice system. Edited by Gary W. Bowman, et al., 157–177. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

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    This chapter is a detailed and academic treatment of private policing. The authors demonstrate how private policing can be successful within a high-crime urban setting. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Terrorism and Extremist Violence: Private Policing Implications

Some may question why a section on terrorism and extremism is included in an entry on the privatization of policing. The need to include this section stems from three factors. First, as noted in Crime and Public Safety Issues, the impetus toward private policing is often triggered by fears for personal safety. Second, as demonstrated by the rise of private military firms, such as Blackwater (now Xe) and Dyncorp, the use of private security personnel in foreign war zones may be a precursor for similar arrangements on American soil. Third, if a terroristic climate prevails in this country, then policing agencies will need significant help from the private sector. With these premises in mind, a number of works have examined the impact of terrorism on private policing. Two significant cooperative public-private efforts, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services 2004 and Bureau of Justice Assistance 2005, describe the need to engage the private sector in homeland security. This approach is echoed in Cooke and Hahn 2006, Stephens 2005, Pastor 2005, Pastor 2009a, Uchitelle and Markoff 2004, and Youngs 2004. In addition, Pastor 2009b describes, in detail, the structural and contractual interrelationship of these policing entities in response to terrorism. The result, according to Pastor, is the development of a new policing “model,” public safety policing, which incorporates public police and private security. In the end, this model is the logical result of the long-developing, but largely unnoticed, movement toward the privatization of police. As Pastor warns, the failure to incorporate private policing into the larger policing model will result in a “dual system” of policing: one for the rich and one for the poor. This consequence would have far-reaching implications for the American system and society.

  • Bureau of Justice Assistance. 2005. Engaging the private sector to promote homeland security: Law enforcement—private security partnerships. Washington, DC: Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

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    This piece describes the reasons why public-private partnerships are necessary to support homeland security. The underlying basis for these partnerships relates to the impact and implications of terrorism. The report is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Cooke, Leonard G., and Lisa R. Hahn. 2006. The missing link in homeland security. The Police Chief 73.11 (November).

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    This article describes the connection of two sectors: law enforcement and private security. Because it appeared in a highly respected police publication, the underlying theme of the authors has additional credence. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. 2004. National policy summit: Building private security/public policing partnerships to prevent and respond to terrorism and public disorder. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.

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    Law enforcement and security personnel came together to develop and prepare this document. Given this combined effort and its intended purpose, the document is a must-read for researchers of the privatization of police. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Pastor, James F. 2005. Public safety policing. Law Enforcement Executive Forum 5.6 (November): 13–27.

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    This article introduces the development of a new policing “model” triggered by two key factors: fear and money. Both these factors necessitate the involvement of the private security industry in the protection of the US homeland. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Pastor, James F. 2009a. Order maintenance within homeland security. The Homeland Security Review 3.2 (Summer): 101–124.

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    This article develops the underlying reasons necessitating the provision of order maintenance services by private police. It addresses the who, what, where, why, and how of order maintenance in relation to homeland security. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Pastor, James F. 2009b. Terrorism and public safety policing: Implications for the Obama presidency. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

    DOI: 10.1201/9781439815816Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book describes the development of a new policing “model”: public safety policing, which stresses the involvement of security personnel and surveillance technologies. This model will significantly change policing and has far-reaching implications for US society. The book is a must-read for researchers, suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Stephens, Gene. 2005. Policing the future: Law enforcement’s new challenges. The Futurist 39.2: 51–57.

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    This article is a collection of quotes and short narratives from respected law enforcement officials. Many of these officials articulate the need for fundamental changes in policing, including the involvement of private security personnel. Suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Available online.

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  • Uchitelle, Louis, and John Markoff. 2004. Terrorbusters, Inc.: The rise of the homeland security industrial complex. New York Times, 17 October.

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    This well-developed and well-researched feature article raises concerns about a “homeland security industrial complex.” The rise of this complex is similar to that of the “national defense industrial complex,” which many decried throughout the Cold War and in contemporary times. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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  • Youngs, Al. 2004. The future of public/private partnerships. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 73.1 (January): 8–11.

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    Youngs describes specific functions and arrangements where law enforcement and security personnel work together. He advocates for future work between these two entities. The article is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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LAST MODIFIED: 06/29/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0136

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