Relationships Since the creation of our nation, private and public policing have been closely intertwined. Unfortunately, it has not always been a successful partnership. We will look at the creation of the public police force and how many stemmed from private entities. We will then look at some examples in recent history of the public and private sector uniting and producing results. Finally, we’ll examine how the rapidly evolving modern world is forcing the public and private sectors to cooperate for common goals.
Let’s begin tit a look at how public policing formed from private security interests. Pre- Twentieth Century: The Roots of Private and Public Policing The relationship between public and private policing in America extends all the way back to the founding of the nation. During the colonial era, there was yet no model for American policing, and many towns and cities formed their own types of watch systems based on the British model. During the Industrial Revolution, many police were essentially on the payrolls of the corporate magnates that ran the major cities and helped keep the working class in line by breaking up union strikes.
By the mid-sass’s riots and labor disputes were sweeping the nation and the mostly volunteer watch system was grossly underpowered to handle it. Several states passed legislation that allowed private industry to create or employ their own private police forces. (Stevens, 2005) Perhaps one of the most famous (or infamous) was the Pinker Detective Agency. Formed in 1850 by a Scottish immigrant, the Pinker Detective Agency first began by protecting railroad property and investigating train robberies.
During an investigation, the agency uncovered an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln on his inauguration train. President Lincoln was impressed by the Pinsetters’ investigative abilities and put them to work spying on the Confederacy. After the Civil War, the Pinker Agency was hired to perform “labor discipline services” in Illinois. They used armed guards to escort scab workers into the mine and placed guards in watchtowers that intimidated and harassed the striking workers. The Pinsetters performed hundreds of strike busting operations, and garnered a bad reputation as corporate thugs.
They were even accused of inciting riots to ensure Job security. Although the Pinker Agency pursued notable outlaws like the James Gang and Butch Cascade and the Issuance Kid, as well as helping to develop modern investigative techniques history will remember them as paid thugs in the pockets of big industry. (PAPAW,2006) Another group formed to deal with labor disputes was Pennsylvania Coal and Iron Police. They were commissioned to protect private property, but in reality they enforced the will of the mine and mill owners who ultimately paid their wages.
After unchecked violence caused workers to strike and cause a nationwide coal shortage, the state government realized that policing needed to be maintained by responsible public officers. This ultimately led to the formation of the Pennsylvania State Police. (SSP, 2013) The early years of our nation showed that law enforcement must be kept separate from the interests of big business, but Mid-Twentieth Century The second half of the twentieth century showed an increase in cases of Joint public and private investigations and states hiring private security assets.
As the times began to change, so too did the nature of crimes. Narcotics became a huge issue almost overnight and rapid technological advances ushered in a new era of crime. The dawn of the computer age brought about an increase in industrial espionage. In 1982, IBM and the FBI performed a sting operation designed to stop the sale of trade secrets to Hitachi and Mediumistic. IBM security officials and FBI agents created a false consulting firm, with the IBM security official posing as the firm’s attorney.
As a result of the operation, charges were filed against 21 personnel. In court however, questions arose over which entity was actually in charge of the operation. Defense attorneys argued that IBM ran the operation as an attempt to mitigate international competition, to which the FBI assisted them. This ultimately led to dropped charges against some defendants. Another Silicon Valley operation was undertaken by National Semiconductor and Genetics corporations along with police and Federal agents.
When boxes of stolen microchips were found in a motel room, local police were notified and traced the chips to a suspect. The two corporations then hired private investigators to pose as thieves who approached the suspect and offered to sell the stolen parts under the surveillance of local police. This resulted in taking down an Asian counterfeit computer ring. An example of states hiring private entities to perform police work was a company called Multi-state Unit, Inc. Founded by a former police chief, the company employed former police personnel with undercover and narcotics experience.
Its clients included small town departments that lacked drug enforcement and undercover skill sets. Hiring outsiders for undercover vice work had several advantages. First, they are not sworn individuals so they can pose as prostitutes or their clients. For example, in New York, private detectives visited a massage parlor suspected of prostitution and paid for services. They then filed affidavits detailing everything that took place. The massage oral was forced to close and the private investigators were not prosecuted for illegal sexual acts.
Blackener first came to light by winning Provisional Authority in 2003 along with a separate contract to guard the US embassy in Iraq. Sometimes referred to as mercenaries, Blackener employees were the center of a firestorm of controversy during the Iraq war when four of its employees were indicted on charges stemming from a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left 17 unarmed Iraq citizens dead. The name Blackener has such a negative connotation that the company has changed names twice since 2009. The use of private armies in warfare is nothing new.
During the thirteenth century B. C. Pharaoh Rammers II used 11,000 mercenaries during battle and they have been used in every major military conflict since then. In the case of Blackener however, international law does not designate them as mercenaries. The Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, (Protocol l), 8 June 1977 states: “Article 47 – Mercenaries 1 . A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war. 2.
A mercenary is any person who: (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict; b) Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities; (c) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party; (d) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict; (e) Is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and (f) Has not been sent by a State which is not Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces. ” Since Blackener employees were considered nationals of a Party to the conflict and they acted as personal security (in theory only firing as an act of self-defense), by international law they were not considered mercenaries.
Private Military Companies (MAC) such as Blackener are governed by Department of Defense Instruction 3020. 41 , which limits their use of weapons to self-defense, and cannot undertake offensive operations, such as raids or assaults. The DOD awards billions of dollars in entrants to many Amps annually and the vast majority of MAC personnel in any theater of operations serve in logistical and support roles, and are not involved in direct combat. Another area of the post 9/1 1 landscape that has changed dramatically is that of cyber security. The federal government has begun relying on private companies to assist it in trying to combat the ever-present and rapidly growing cyber threat.
The popularizing factor between the public and private sectors is money. A cyber-attack on our national infrastructure (electrical grids, transportation, utilities) would have far reaching effects. Beyond the immediate disruption of day-to- day life, the ripple effect could be catastrophic to our economy. Government is really only capable of dealing with attacks to its core functions such as the military, intelligence, and government systems. But when you look at the internet (owned and operated by the private sector), government has little clout. Many of the threats against public and private assets originate from personal computers which are beyond government reach.
Also, the tools to combat such threats, such as anti-virus industry knows that any attack that threatens national security ultimately effects amerce, which is a big incentive to work with the public sector to mitigate these threats. (Dollar, 2011) We examined the roots of today’s police force and showed how some agencies were formed from private entities. We then discussed how public and private entities had to work together in the mid-twentieth century to meet rising trends in crime. Finally, we looked at how both entities came together in the interest of national security. The common theme through the years has been how both the public and private sectors have had to adapt to changing times by pooling their resources to fight a common enemy.