Private security is the backbone of the American culture, and will continually evolve to prevent and protect society from any type of potential harm. In past times, the private security industry was utilized as a means of backup to public law enforcement in resourcefulness and manpower. History dating back to the 1800’s shows that the police departments were few and far between and found to be commonly corrupt which created the necessity for private security. The people of these times had to utilize vigilante justice to enact some type of law enforcement.
There was a need and a demand for private security. It was not until 1851 that the first national private security and investigation service was established by Allen Pinkerton (Ortmeier, 2012). After this, many individuals implemented other forms of security. For example, in 1853 August Pope had the first burglar alarm patented, and in 1858, Edwin Holmes produced the first central station burglar alarm (Ortmeier, 2012). Also, in 1958, Washington Brinks designed the first armored carriage for safe transportation of valuables. In 1899 SWAT was formed under the private sector classification.
In 1909, William Burns created an international detective agency (Ortmeier, 2012). Essentially these private agencies have been around as long as the public agencies in the United States. In today’s society, these private security agencies are essential for the protection and survival of businesses, individuals, and even government sectors. History has shown with the implementation of a new form of private security comes new threats against them. Private security does not mean just being a mall cop; there are thousands of private agencies in use today.
There are certain factors that lead to the need to implement a significant growth within private security. This can be dated all the way back to the pre-Civil War era where the lack of public police was evident and resulted in the private industry to suffer a large monetary loss. In today’s society, this threat has grown to a new extreme. After the horrific events that transpired during 9/11, it became apparent that the United States needed to make changes to prevent terrorism from happening on its soil again. Technology crimes are at an all time high; this creates a potentially greater need for global security.
What started with a handful of private security options has grown into a significant number of agencies. “Private security is becoming a more significant force in public security and safety. 678,160 workers employed in private security compared with only 580,428 in public law enforcement. Private security in this country would continue to grow, increasing at a faster pace than public law enforcement. It is clear based on statistics, that private security in this country is larger than public police agencies and will play a more important role in crime prevention and security in the future” (Clede, 1993).
This need will continue to grow because public law enforcement’s numbers will always be regulated, and essentially there will never be enough manpower to meet the demands associated with it. As private security continues to grow, it continues to move toward professionalism. As the need grows so do the expectations. “Today private security is moving toward a new professionalism. In defining the desired professionalism, most authorities often cite the need for a code of ethics and for credentials including education and training, experience, and membership in a professional society” (Fischer & Green, 2004).
Public law enforcement employees are put through excessive training to be able to adequately do their job and serve the public. They are not just handed a gun and a badge and told to protect the public. There are so many things that can go on when it comes to crime and corruption that individuals have to learn how to personally think and react properly when in a situation. This can be even more essential in many of the different private security areas. Colleges offer four-year training programs to aid in preparing that individual for their position in the private security industry.
There are also certification programs that ensure that training is given properly for the agency’s employees. Previously, the typical security guard was undertrained, underpaid, and unregulated. If there were no noticeable breaches, these guards would have to interact without any type of supervision. However, when events transpired, the company had to address the ill preparation given in providing this private security to whatever company they were protecting. Another factor that is changing the professionalism in private security is the demands associated with the position.
There are many different private security agencies that deal with technology and specifications. This is an industry that virtually changes on a daily basis. The only way that these private security employees can successfully do their job is to have the proper education, training, and continual instructional feedback. The national security, financial industry, and personal privacy of the United States could potentially fall victim to a threat if these private security agencies are not fully capable of providing the necessary protection.
In today’s society, security professionals should take a special interest in the history of the industry’s development. Part of the improvement is dependent upon knowing what has and has not been successful in the past. History has a way of repeating itself, sometimes in different variations, but the outcome is similar. For private security professionals they need to know specifics regarding the history and progression within their individual agency. It could also be beneficial to gain the same knowledge on similar agencies as well.
The history of a private security agency can also create a way for potential improvements. Employees can see the progression and understand that they are a vital part of the future. The changes that protected them yesterday will most likely be obsolete tomorrow. This necessity for advancement will allow them to see the equation that got them to their modern day practices and keep private security agents one step ahead of what they are trying to defend against. History is an important part of any professional’s development; this is even truer when it comes to private security and its ability to protect and enforce.
Private security is the backbone of the American culture, and will continually evolve to prevent and protect society from any type of potential harm. Over the past couple centuries this concept has gone from nonexistent to a dominate necessity for America’s overall wellbeing. The private security industry has grown to be so significant because of the overwhelming corruption and dishonesty that is plaguing society. As the needs change so will the expectations, education, and requirements for the employees to effectively be able to facilitate the security demands.
Private security agencies will continue to go with the demands to fill in the gaps that are left with the public law enforcement divisions and provide a much needed security that would not have been there otherwise. References Clede, B. (1993). Security officer's manual. Minocqua, WI: Lakeland Pub. Fischer, R. J. , & Green, G. (2004). Introduction to security. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann. Ortmeier, P. J. (2012). Introduction to security: Operations and management (4th ed. ). Boston: Pearson.