Wednesday, September 24, 2014

101 Things

An Author Needs to Know

About the Police and the Law

Can a security guard arrest me?

Yes, many states give security guards the power of arrest.  Also remember that many guards are off-duty cops working an extra job.  It would be best to treat a rent-a-cop with the same concern as a police officer.  BUT rent-a-cops are not real cops, so you don't have ANY constitutional protection if they violate your rights.  If a security guard tells you to stop, then stop, but you do not need to answer questions or explain.  In fact, anything you say to the rent-a-cop will be repeated in court.  There's no such thing as Miranda in that situation.  Be careful.  Be quiet.  Be courteous. Demand that you be released or ask him to call a real cop.  


Chris said...

Here in the UK we have what's called a Citizen's Arrest, where one member of the public can technically arrest another if they feel they have been committing an offence - theft, assault, criminal damage, etc. They obviously then have to call in an officer of the law to take over and process things but it is a right that every citizen has if they have genuine grounds to believe someone's been up to no good. It's probably the same in America, so not just security guards have the right of arrest. Of course, it has to be used wisely. You couldn't just stop someone for wearing loud clothes, or being a pain in the backside. There has to be genuine suspicion of a crime. And the chances of the person going quietly just because Joe Bloggs says he's under arrest are pretty slim. You could end up with a tiger by the tail. Still, good to know we can do it if we need.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Chris. Most of our laws came from the UK and we too still have Citizen's Arrest. I don't know much about it, other than Wikipedia. Seems like some type of force might be needed to keep the person there until the police arrive. I don't think Joe Blow is going to sit quietly on the curb because I say so, especially if he just committed a crime that I witnessed. I suppose Citizen's Arrest comes into play now and then but you don't see much of it. I did see a news article some time ago where a bunch of guys at a convenience store tackled and then sat on a would-be robber until the police got there. I guess that would qualify.

Tamara said...

We also have the Guardian Angels here in America in some big cities. My son was a member once a long time ago -- for a short time. I'm not sure how much power they have.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara. I remember the Guardian Angels. I took my daughter to New York City when she was younger, and we were riding the subway to the museums. I saw one of those guys and I said to her, Look, there's a Guardian Angel. She had never heard of them and thought I was losing it. They probably just have Citizen's Arrest power, but just knowing someone is around watching is a good deterrent. I know I felt safer. Thank your son. He made a difference.

Tamara said...

I'll tell him, Jody.