Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Acting Beyond Your Scope Can Be Deadly privateofficer.com

CHARLOTTE NC Oct 18 2016
Two incidents just a week apart involving private security officers exceeding their authority and acting reckless could have caused everyone involved to be injured or killed are now under scrutiny and investigation by law enforcement.
Police say charges may be filed in both incidents.
A security firm, Powell Asset Protection Agency was on duty at a band contest in Aiken County South Carolina when they heard gunshots nearby. They determined that the shots were not being fired by anyone on the property but that the shooter was close by. Wearing tactical vests and armed with semi-automatic rifles, the group entered a wooded area that bordered part of the property where the competition was being held but that was not part of their area of responsibility and began searching for the source of the gunfire.
They soon found a man who was target shooting on another piece of property where the security officers had no authority to be.
They took cover and shouted for the man to “stand-down” and drop his weapon.
The man turned out to be an off-duty Aiken County deputy sheriff on his own private property.
Words were exchanged and on duty law enforcement were called.
The owners of the security firm received a suspension letter from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and told to "completely cease all security related duties pending the outcome of an investigation."
While private security officers in South Carolina do have the same authority of a deputy sheriff while in the performance of their role on private property, the authority does not extend beyond the property line and does not allow security officers to act as law enforcement officers.
Metro-Dade Florida police also responded to a complaint of an armed man roaming a neighborhood dressed in black tactical gear and acting suspicious.
Responding officers found the man who reported to them that he was an armed security officer looking for several male subjects that he had seen looking into vehicles. The security officer assigned to a near-by apartment complex stated that he watched them for twenty minutes walking the area and acting like they were going to break into cars and that he was going to question them.

Florida security officers may detain a person suspected of committing a crime on the property where they are assigned but have no authority beyond that.
It is not known in either case if the security officers called police prior to trying to intervene in the incidents.

It's important to note that police responding to armed person calls or calls involving people in tactical gear, dark clothing and acting suspicious, especially at night have sometimes turned deadly when officers could not identify those involved as security or law enforcement officers and the police officers perceived a threat. 

A Jacksonville Florida bail agent was shot and killed by police during a similar situation last year and another elderly Florida security officer was also shot and killed a few years earlier when police responded to an armed man call at a building during the night and were confronted by someone holding a gun. The man was later identified as a security officer for the building.

Off -duty law enforcement officers responding to incidents have also been killed by fellow officers who identified them as the offender instead of an officer.

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