Off-Duty Law Enforcement Security Services: The Outsourced Solution

Off-Duty Law Enforcement Security Services: The Outsourced Solution


As good as security technology is, some assignments call for human assets.

Unless you work for one of the few organizations that maintain an on-site security force, finding appropriate human security assets will require outsourcing.

When selecting a solution, many security directors default to guards, no matter how complex the assignment is.

Yet, as security assignments become more sensitive, guards need to be evaluated on whether or not they are the appropriate option.

Does off-duty security really deter crime?

In the popular LifeLock TV commercial pictured above, a security guard, shown standing in a bank as it is being robbed, is told by a customer lying on the floor, to “do something.”

The guard explains that he is not there to stop the robbery, but to “notify people if there is a robbery.”

Although security guards provide a sufficient solution in many instances, they have obvious limitations.

Private security guards are appropriate for certain, low threat assignments such as manning access control guard shacks and conducting patrol “rounds” after hours at an industrial plant.

When dressed in uniform, guards provide a moderate level of deterrence.

But what if their presence fails to deter the adversary?

Stating, “There’s a robbery.” doesn't deter the most determined criminals.

Lacking arrest authority, training, tactics, and equipment to intervene, guards facing illegal activity become “monitors.”, and, depending on the asset or assignment, guards might prove as the wrong fit.

Can Guards Effectively Protect Assets?

What about assignments involving:

  • High-value asset protection
  • Situations likely to result in violence
  • Events that require an armed response?

For these assignments, off-duty police officers are the appropriate countermeasure.

Although armed private security guards are available, most companies are unable to accept the increased legal liability they bring.

Also, the price hike for armed guards is much higher than the unarmed alternative.

In fact, many U.S. corporations prohibit firearms on their premises by anyone other than active law enforcement officers.

Benefits vs. Cost

It’s easy to see why more corporations are hiring off-duty officers to suit their security needs.

American police officers are highly trained and experienced, especially in comparison to unarmed guards. In uniform, they provide an effective deterrent to criminal activity.

Their knowledge of the law enables them to handle confusing security situations in which guards would need to contact the police, such as trespassing, alcohol violations, restraining orders, etc...

In many locations throughout the U.S., off-duty officers are actually less expensive than guards!

Officer Availability

As the popularity of off-duty law enforcement officers increases, their services have become more difficult to obtain.

Factors play into the circumstances behind hiring off-duty officers.

Police departments continue to add requirements and policies to displace liability, allow for executive approval, and facilitate payment to the officer.

Some departments allow uniformed work only, others allow only plain clothes.

Various agencies allow the use of police vehicles and agencies differ on the restrictions and fees required.

Most require existing agreements with the hiring organization even for a single event.

These agreements can take weeks to finalize, preventing the last-minute hiring of an officer.

The Role Of Private Agencies For Off-Duty Officer Needs

To avoid the confusion, many security directors for departments will outsource the hiring of off-duty officers to private firms where “one call” gets the officer on site.

These companies handle the insurance, agency agreements, and ensure compliance with the multitude of policies for each agency.

They confirm officers are current with state requirements and ensure they are on-site when scheduled.

They conduct quality control with on-site clients to ensure they are receiving the service they need, and rate officers so that only the most effective are provided.

Because these firms provide assignments for so many officers, they are able to negotiate the lowest hourly rates.

As a result, the cost of off-duty officers is often lower than the price of private guards.

Essentially, all the red tape and specifics are handled by the private agency in order to offer a more seamless provision of off-duty officers to the hiring company.

Consider the role off-duty officers can play in your next security assignment.

Need information on hiring active, expert officers?

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