Security Department Policy Hospitals Have Many Unique Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1426 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Security Department Policy

Hospitals have many unique security needs and legal obligations as highly public, accessible institutions providing essential public goods. Because of the precarious condition of many local and state governments, local and state law enforcement agencies are often unable to meet the numerous, unpredictable security needs of a large hospital environment. State legislatures have responded to unmet security needs by granting police power to private security officers in a variety of degrees, from limited apprehension powers to full police powers. Although this new trend in the expansion of police power provides hospitals with more flexibility and options in meeting security objectives, it also brings increased legal risks. These legal risks result from the hospital's assumption of constitutional limitations on the exercise of police power as well private civil and criminal legal actions.

Key Issues

Arrests and arrest procedures as they relate to security officers who are not granted police and arrest powers

a. Individuals may not summon Constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure actions against private security officers if the officer was not granted authority to exercise police power in the first place. Instead, the officer would be legally treated as a private citizen, which exposes the officer to civil actions in the form of tort liability as well as criminal actions for crimes such as assault or false imprisonment.

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b. The liability of private security officers and the hospitals employing them can vary greatly from state to state. State courts are generally responsible for creating tort law through Stare Decisis. State legislatures are responsible for creating criminal statutes.

Term Paper on Security Department Policy Hospitals Have Many Unique Assignment

c. Hospitals are typically vicariously liable for torts committed by their employees under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior and one can expect that most courts would treat private security officers to be employees of the hospital. However, depending on the state, courts may treat private security officers as independent contractors. In such cases, hospitals could evade liability for the torts of their private security officers if the hospital does not specifically control the method by which the independent contractors execute their duties.

d. Individuals would also be able to bring other constitutional complaints against private security officers. These include the Substantive Due Process Rights and Equal Protection Act Rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. State constitutions can also contain special Constitutional protections on parental rights and Euthanasia which could be interfered with by private security guards.

2. Security officers who are granted police and arrest powers (special or commissioned officers)

a. A private security officer can be incur the legal liabilities faced by traditional public police officers if they are granted police power by the appropriate government agency. These officers would be given full police powers and authority enjoyed by traditional public police officers, including the power to search, detain, and arrest individuals whom the private security officer has probable cause to suspect has committed a crime.

b. In exercising these powers, private security officers could potentially violate the complex, ever-changing search and seizure rules contained in the 4th and 5 thAmendments, opening the hospital to liability for constitutional violations, such as violating the constitutional right to privacy of individuals.

3. Government agencies and organizations that are responsible for granting police and arrest powers to private security officers

a. Generally, it is the state legislatures which have the authority to grant police power to private security officers. As of now, most state legislatures which grant police power to private security agencies limit their jurisdiction to the private property of their employers. Some states extend jurisdiction to streets in close proximity to the employer's location.

b. State administrative agencies such as the Department of Justice also possess authority in the grant and exercise of police power to private security officers. There are a number of exceptions, obligations, and requirements attached to the grant of police power, depending on the state. For example, in North Carolina, the state Department of Justice requires company police to go through the same basic training as public officers. In Virginia, Department of Criminal Justice Services trains and certifies "Private Crime Prevention Practitioners." soon plans to send security companies e-mails with unclassified homeland security threats and crime alerts.

c. Local Police Departments also place certain limits and enhancements to the police power exercised by private security officers through… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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