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Private Security Capabilities / Duites

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by batson35, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Our home owners association is wasting money again on private security and I don't think anyone has clue as to their capabilities. We are not a gated community each and every residential is a public roadway and the company has ZERO association / relationship with our local PD

    Scenario 1: They drive by and see a "thug-looking" person walking out of my home with a TV. What can they do? Can they question, can they detain by force, can they come on my property to investigate.

    Scenario 2: A traffic crash happens on public / state road the participants start duking it out. What can security do?
    FYI they have NO authorization /permission to do traffic control.
  2. rhikdavis

    rhikdavis U.S. Veteran

    Jul 22, 2002
    In Remembrance
    They call the cops.

  3. I would think it would depend in part on how high a level of security you want to pay for. You can go from the minimum-wage rent-a-cops to some more serious folks who could even be armed, and perhaps have the power to detain. Hire some off-duty LEOs, and you should be loaded for bear. At a price. Always at a price.

    You get what you pay for.
  4. Just a suggestion: Consider starting up your own community watch program. You may find that more effective than some of the lower-end security options. Detect and report. That should be sufficient in most cases, depending on where you live.
  5. If your HOA is going to be paying for security, I would assume that they have permission to go on the property of those who pay HOA dues.

    Anyone can make a citizens arrest, however they open themselves up to huge liability. Most of the time all that security does is keep an eye out and call the cops if needed.

    Most criminals are lazy, if they have the option between prowling a neighborhood with security and one without, they will most likely choose the one without.
  6. WOW!!! You really cede your rights as a property owner i.e. by belonging to the association with is forced you allow whomever they contract with carts blanch access to your property.
  7. I have never belonged to a POA, and do not intend to. But it seems as though a lot of their functions would be a matter of a vote. If so, maybe it's time to start talking to people.
  8. blueiron


    Aug 10, 2004
    State laws differ, but belonging to an HOA does not give contracted security to come onto one's property and conducti investigations in my State. Private property remains such and the most they can do is walk up to the front door and ring the bell, if there is not a locked fence around the front of the property and no signage. If they are directed to leave, that ends the contact.

    The security company can act as a representative agent for the contracting HOA for purposes of criminal trespass and other crimes occurring on HOA property, common areas, and the like.

    They are primarily uniformed observers and report writers. They can call for police if the guard is sharp enough. Many aren't.
  9. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

    Usually security guards for private communities are there to tow cars parked in No Parking zones and lock the pool or clubhouse at night. The towing cars thing is important to the dorks who are usually on the board of directors because they take great personal offense at anyone parking where they shouldn't, even if the street is wide enough for a couple fire trucks to drive by in opposite directions at the same time.

    We used to live in a place with an HOA, and I've had dealings with HOAs and their board members through work. An awful lot of directors have that position just to lord it over everyone else, and not because they have the association's best interests at heart. Just like real politicians.
  10. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    I would move out of any place that has a HOA and get a single residence family dwelling and get a good security system and physical barriers, along with lots of guns, a dog, and training for everybody in the household. Screw letting others play with your safety.
  11. merlynusn


    Nov 16, 2007
    The reason they hire security is because it's cheaper than hiring off duty officers. We have a standard rate for off duty and it's much higher than security. We have a couple security companies. Some are unarmed security, some are armed security, and some are company police. Some companies have only one of the three and some have all three. The ones that have all three give the neighborhood/business the level they pay for.
  12. SgtScott31


    Jan 17, 2011
    It will vary greatly from state to state. Regardless if the property involves HOA or not, it can't grant anyone automatic rights to private property. There are really too many variables at play with property laws, laws of arrest, security personnel, etc to give a correct answer. You really need to research the laws involving your state. Security personnel in TN for example have no more authority than a normal citizen. They can get a license to be armed or unarmed and it doesn't take much to do that. Under TN law, all citizens can make an arrest for a misdemeanor that occurs in their presence or when probable cause for a felony exists (or a felony is witnessed). Private citizens can even use reasonable force necessary to make an arrest. Now with that said, IT RARELY OCCURS. Why? because if the citizen screws up, they are not protected under the governmental immunity laws like LEOs are. I worked loss prevention for several years prior to LE work. We were basically unarmed security, making arrests for shoplifting (and other theft offenses), and waiting on LEs to take the offender to jail or cite them. I often appeared in court as primary prosecutor on the case.

    In your scenarios, if I was working security as a security officer for the neighborhood (not a LEO) and witnessed a burglary in progress, technically I could take action, but doubt I would. It's best in those situations to be a good witness. Most security officers are not armed and it's really not worth taking the risk to get injured/killed over some property. It's a better idea to hire off-duty LEOs for that type work. Although it may cost quite a bit more to employ off-duty LEOs their knowledge, training, and education reduces the liability significantly of the employing company versus hiring a 19-yr old who could arrest the wrong person, injure himself or an innocent third party, or something worse.

    As far as traffic accidents, that will depend on the jurisdictional LE agency. When it involves property damage only, some LE agencies do an in-house report for the driver(s), while others may do a full state crash report. Either way, it's primarily for insurance purposes only.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  13. Lt Scott 14

    Lt Scott 14

    Mar 14, 2006
    N.W. Indiana
    Use to work for a HOA as a weekend Marine/Lake Patrol officer. Besides land authority, water enforcement is another case of who can, who can't. The Security Dept. was mostly retired deputies, police officers, and the local sheriff granted Deputy Sheriff commisions based upon training, firearms certification on a yearly basis. Most of the younger non LEO officers always worked with a commisioned officer to be sure of arrests, liabilities, and some residents were surprised when they were transported to jail in a security vehicle. (County units not available). The words "rent a cops" went away after a few drunken domestics, leaving scene of accidents, etc. when the perps were found and arrested as needed. We responded to accidents outside of the subdivision, bank alarms, even opened up a couple of cars with the keys in the ignitions(lockouts). All went well till the Chief retired, and a Security Manager took over. All the ex LEOs left, and the only guys left now are the observe and report types. Their loss.