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NCJ Number: 150171 Find in a Library
Title: Reflections on Police Privatization
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:63  Issue:9  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:21-25
Author(s): D O'Leary
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on the experience of the Borough of Sussex, N.J., in purchasing police services from a private security firm, this article assesses the viability of such a strategy.
Abstract: Because Sussex Borough could no longer afford its own police department, it abolished the department and relied on the State police for law enforcement services. When it was evident this was not sufficient law enforcement resources, the borough hired a private security company to provide a more constant uniformed presence within the borough. Although the intent was that the private police would supplement the State police, it became clear that the actual mission of the private police was to function as a fully independent municipal police department. From the outset, the author, who is the Sussex County prosecutor, received reports of motor vehicles being stopped, summonses being issued, and persons being detained and arrested. The prosecutor's concern was heightened when he received reports that the security guards had mishandled several incidents. An injunction was obtained by the New Jersey attorney general's office, claiming that the Sussex Borough could not create a private police department without complying with existing State statutes relating to the creation of a police force. The author's concern was with accountability and qualifications of private police. He acknowledges, however, that these issues could be addressed by amending laws and regulations to provide accountably along a similar chain of command as those of public police agencies. In addition, legislatures could mandate that in order to win a bid for municipal policing, private security companies must meet the same screening and training criteria as public police departments. Still, issues that remain to be addressed are whether such an arrangement would work and whether the savings would be worth the effort.
Main Term(s): Private police
Index Term(s): Contract law enforcement; Cutback management; New Jersey
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