My series on policing, with a focus on special (private) police and communities of color, is appearing in East of the River, a Capital Community Newspaper.
Across the US, many individuals with badges, often armed, are accountable to no one except their private employer. Accountability and regulation of private security was found wanting in a report produced for the US Department of Justice in 1971:
Licensing and regulation of private security businesses and employees is, at best, minimal and inconsistent, and, at worst, completely absent. Sanctions are rarely invoked. Moreover current tort, criminal, and constitutional law has not been adequate — substantively or procedurally — to control certain problem areas involving private security activities, such as arrests, use of firearms, and investigations. Finally, current law has not provided adequate remedy for persons injured by actions of private security personnel.
— “Private Police Findings and Recommendations,”
Rand Corporation for the US DOJ, 1971. p. viii (full report link below)
The biggest change in 45 years has been the size of the security industry: estimated at 400,000 in 1971 and closer to two million now.
East of the River Policing Series:
‘Private “Special Police” in DC: Community Comments from Recruitment to Accountability’ September 2016 EOTR
‘Policing East of the River: Call for Community Comment’ in August 2016 EOTR
What Happened to Zo? Frustrated Family, Supporters Fear Cover-Up in April 2016 EOTR
From Frozen to Bloom (Spatz) in February EOTR
Anyone living and/or working east of the river in DC is encouraged to share thoughts and stories on policing as further articles are developed.
A few more sources
In other local papers:
Unanswered Questions Linger (Sam P.K. Collins) in April Washington Informer
“Private Police…Ranks Are Swelling” in the Washington Post (2015)
“Privatization and Policing of Black Colonies”
Rand/US DOJ Reports
In 1971, the Rand Corporation produced extensive studies for the U.S. Department of Justice on the private policing. Each volume is available as free, downloadable PDF:
Private Police Industry: Nature and Extent
Private Police Findings and Recommendations
Current Regulation of Private Police
Special-Purpose Public Police
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