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Can a Security Officer utilize Handcuffs to detain a subject commitng a crime until police arrive? My response to this question is no because of civil liability and possibly lack of training., but other officers seem to think this is acceptable. Citizens Arrest (but thougt this was only a verbal command) please elaborate on this, curious to see the offical law and or the opinions on this topic. Thanks.
 

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If I remember correctly, citizen's arrest allows for a citizen to stop and detain another person who "IN FACT COMMITTED" a FELONY only. This means that in order for the private citizen to be shielded from civil liability (i.e. a big fat lawsuit for A&B, etc.), the suspect would need to be convicted in criminal court. The reason for that high standard is to deter people from running around arresting each other. For sworn LEO, the standard is probable cause.
 

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This is a touchy subject indeed. I was under the impression that you could handcuff someone to detain them because you don't have to be a sworn LEO to handcuff someone. As far as the liability end of it, the way society is today, no matter what you do, you are always open to lawsuits. Personally, if I was private security or LP, I would only handcuff someone that is a threat to themselves or others and my company had a WRITTEN policy on handcuffing as well as providing some sort of training on proper handcuffing techniques. That way, when the inevitable lawsuit comes up, you can say that you were acting in accordance with your company's written policy and you can provide documentation of proper training. That might save you on the individual liability end and put the focus on the company. Most people are going to see more $$$ with the store than the individual anyway, but it's always nice to not have to worry about it.
 

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Having a security and Loss Prevention Background I would say don't cuff someone at all. Unless you are a constable or a special in the city/town you are working in and you have that for the purpose of your specific job. The other thing with handcuffing someone is if they really wanna go crazy they can say that they were being held against their will which is basically kidnapping. Which would suck to have on your record. If you make a grab and the subject wants to run and you already recovered the merchandise then let them go. Cause trust me losing $100 in Civil fines or merch. is alot cheaper for the Company then getting sued for thousands of dollars. If you get the 5 elements and the person stops and you tell them that it's on video and you will contact the police if they run then you should be all set. Most of the time they won't run because they know how petty it is for them if they just stay. Just my :2c:

Scott :pc:
 

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When i was a security officer i carried handcuffs....but i never used them on anyone nor would i use them. I carried them on me for the purpose of assisting the police, if they needed an extra set of cuffs.
 

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Also where I work now I carry cuffs. The environment in which I work is kinda weird. Because it is high on the terrorist watchlist if someone tries to compromise the security of the facilities they are either getting cuffed and stuck in a corner or they are catching some lead. Under our contract with the Government (Centers For disease Control) I can basically do what i deem reasonable at the time. If someone were to compromise the security of the facilities alot of bad stuff would get out, including but not limited to SARS, Smallpox, Clostrium Difficile, Yellow Fever and other bad things. So i'm gonna do what I have to do when it comes down to it. If Joe Schmoe comes off the elevator and is a loopy ex employee saying he's gonna go in and beat the crap out of someone he's getting cuffed and he will get proper accommodations at the Cambridge Police Department if Charlie Taliban gets off the elevator with weapons he's going to get to either get accommodations at a local hospital or a local morgue simple as that. Once again just my :2c:

Scott :pc:
 

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I just got a part time job in Boston doing armed security details (crime prevention officer). I carry cuffs but I would only use them if the are absolutley neccessary. I will be working primarily in markets where shoplifting is a big problem. 99% of the time, the store owners do not want to prosecute and just let them go as long as they get their stuff back. The only time I would cuff someone is if in fact they did commit a felony or if i feel it would be neccessary to prevent them from hurting other people. At my other job, which I've been at for 2 years, (public safety- Quincy Medical Center, even though there have been numerous times we've needed them.
 

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Scott,

The CDC will NOT defend you if you do what you feel is appropriate! Tiger can probably also relate to the story below.

In 1978-9 I worked as an engineer for Yankee Atomic Electric Company and I was assigned to Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant (RIP). Since I was a Reserve PO and my cube at the plant (my real office was back in Westboro) was across the hall from the office of the Security Director we used to chat about security, MA gun laws, etc. He (George Murphy) was a retired Capt. (IIRC) Mass State Police and a real good guy. NRC regs said that anyone crossing over the fences into the nuke plant grounds was to be shot on sight! MA laws says if you do that you are going to the "big house" for a very long time! So I asked George what he taught his security force and he told me that he read them the Fed Regs and then read them the MA Laws and told them to use very good judgment! George told me that more than one lost hunter came over the fence with their shotguns, and his security force ascertained that the intrusion was innocent and escorted the lost hunters to the front gate/road and let them go . . . nobody got shot.

The one thing that all of us have to remember at all times (LEO or private security) is that the most powerful weapon we have is between our ears! Let that guide all other actions/reactions. [NOTE: If someone crosses the line and starts shooting, then all bets are off and we need to act accordingly. All other intrusions have to be evaluated and response has to be measured for appropriateness.]
 

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I understand where you are coming from but where I am Is a little different then the nuke plant. It's not like some guy is gonna come onto my property here by accident. You can't get in here without having background investigations and an ID that has to be scanned at every door. So if charlie taliban get's in here he's getting a lead injection no if ands or buts about it. Trust me they'd rather have me shoot him then have him get his hands on the many viruses that we have in the building. Just to let you know smallpox kills 7 out of 10 people infected with it. And this lab is the only lab in the world that produces the vaccine for it. I'm not some trigger happy rent-a-cop just sitting here waiting with my hand on my gun to shoot anyone that get's an attitude with me. But i will do anything I have to do to to keep the property secure.

Scott :pc:
 

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LP departments detain shoplifters under the MGL covering shoplifting (I can't remember the specific chapter but I'll look it up), not "citizen arrest" laws. This allows merchants (or their agents ) to detain shoplifters until the police arrive. I worked LP in downtown crossing for several years while in college, before I became a police officer, and we all carried and used handcuffs extensively. The BPD never begrudged us, as they knew we were getting in fistfights practically every day. Some of our staff were also specials to allow us to do our own summonses.
 

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Scott, I wasn't picking on you. I was just reflecting that those that make the "rules" on what you should do will NOT be there to defend your actions! You will be on your own defending whatever you do. That is just a fact of life.

I recall attending a LE conference at Dean Jr. College (many years ago they did this annually) where an attorney brought two of his clients in to discuss the personal anguish and financial burden of being sued for justifiable shoots on-duty! Both officers were sued personally and went thru ~4 years of hell each. They were eventually exonerated, but they described the personal toll it took on them and their family.

Just remember, every perp out there "is just a real good person" who just stumbled into the wrong place and meant no harm (in spite of having weapons or explosives on him), etc. ad nauseum! :BM:
 

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LenS @ Wed 01 Dec said:
Scott, I wasn't picking on you. I was just reflecting that those that make the "rules" on what you should do will NOT be there to defend your actions! You will be on your own defending whatever you do. That is just a fact of life.

I recall attending a LE conference at Dean Jr. College (many years ago they did this annually) where an attorney brought two of his clients in to discuss the personal anguish and financial burden of being sued for justifiable shoots on-duty! Both officers were sued personally and went thru ~4 years of hell each. They were eventually exonerated, but they described the personal toll it took on them and their family.

Just remember, every perp out there "is just a real good person" who just stumbled into the wrong place and meant no harm (in spite of having weapons or explosives on him), etc. ad nauseum! :BM:
I know you weren't picking on me pal :-D
And if i thought you were I'd fight back :p
Thanks for the info.

And in closing in the great words of Eric Cartman " Whateva whateva I'll do what I want!!"

Scott :pc:
 

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LP departments detain shoplifters under the MGL covering shoplifting (I can't remember the specific chapter but I'll look it up), not "citizen arrest" laws. This allows merchants (or their agents ) to detain shoplifters until the police arrive. I worked LP in downtown crossing for several years while in college, before I became a police officer, and we all carried and used handcuffs extensively. The BPD never begrudged us, as they knew we were getting in fistfights practically every day. Some of our staff were also specials to allow us to do our own summonses.
Killjoy,

Thats good to know... this new job i'm taking is in some tough areas in Boston and I was told to expect shoplifters every shift. I'll be working in the South End, Dorchester, and Allston. If you find the chapter stating that law, let me know. Thanks
 

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Good point LENs and good story. To say that if anyone attempts to hop a fence at a nuke plant gets shot is wrong. Our rules of engagement are the same for the military....don't shoot until shot upon, no matter what the person is doing. That means even if they are running with stolen nuranium past you, you dont shoot them in the back of the head. You use sound judgement and use other means to make sure he doesnt make it out the plant....call other force members to intercept him or lock the gates, etc. Now if he use shooting as hes running, thats a different story. In any security job if your superior says to shoot and kill for something that is non life threating, he or she shouldnt be carrying a gun or running the show. Jobs like security, loss prevention, store detectives, etc, can help your LE career but if you do something unlawful or stupid like shooting an intruder that is just lost, you can kiss your LE career and LTC goodby.
 

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I've a bit of expertise in this having worked in the retail loss prevention field for the last eleven years - and two years of law enforcement prior to that.

That said, the following comments are mine and should not be taken as policy or guidance of my employer....

Regardless of the state, retail loss prevention "detains" individuals under each state's "merchant privilege" statue - which authorizes the owner / manager / agent of a retail company to detain those to commit the act of shoplifting as defined under their state law.

Most state statutes do not directly address the use of force and/or handcuffs in their statute - but it's generally accepted that a certain level of force can be used to detain an individual under this statute - and that handcuffs can be legally used by retail loss prevention.

It's my own personal belief that most, but not all, violent situations encountered by retail LP could be avoided through a more professional approach to the position - particularly in the initial confrontation to detain a shoplifter. And then, when things turn sour, it's often better to walk away than to try to use force to detain someone.. but there is a time and place where the safest thing to do is to restrain the individual and turn them over to law enforcement.

Simply from a safety standpoint - handcuffs are critical, in my mind, to being able to protect one's self in a retail loss prevention position. But they should be rarely used.

I believe that retailers as a whole have to do a better job of trainign their employees on dealing with violent situations - certify them in handcuff usage - and then provide them with effective continuing education and re-certification on a regular basis.

I've had some discussions with several law enforcement agencies here in Massachusetts about the use of force and handcuffing - I've found once I explain where I'm coming from - what training should be in place - etc, most objections go away.

I have found, however, that many retailers simply take a different approach in the relationship to law enforcement - particularly with this issue - that only leads them to significant perception and credibility issues down the road.

I'll climb off my soapbox now :)

Thanks,
Bryan
 

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How about, being an agent ( and I don't mean secret agent) of said company, may it it be Macy's, Sears etc. One who works loss prevention or security becomes agents (representatives) of said company. I thought I remember in an old class an instructor mentioned something like that. Though I do remember the class room was hot and it could have been the heat :D :D
 

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How about, being an agent ( and I don't mean secret agent) of said company, may it it be Macy's, Sears etc. One who works loss prevention or security becomes agents (representatives) of said company. I thought I remember in an old class an instructor mentioned something like that. Though I do remember the class room was hot and it could have been the heat :D :D
I'm a bit unsure as to what you're asking.

But that said, working for a retailer makes you an "agent'" of that retailer in the legal sense of the word --

Bryan
 

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Two interesting related situations, I've overheard over the years:

About five years ago, when I was in-between jobs after a layoff, I interviewed with a Supervisory position with Target stores, as a Regional Loss Prevention Manager. The guy who did my interview, who I also worked with part-time at my old job, told me that the particular Target Store that we were in had an agreement with the local PD, and lawfully (on-site manager only) used handcuffs to detain the occasional disruptive shoplifter.

Second, how about hospital security officers detaining patients detained under Section 12, who are attempting to leave? When I worked in hospital security, there was talk of allowing security officers to use handcuffs as a temporary emergency restraint to detain these people. I left before anything was put in place. As an agent of the hospital, you were often called to snatch up the mentally ill fleeing from the emergency room and what not. This would occasionally lead you out on a little pursuit into a hallway or an ambulance bay where you couldn't exactly put the guy in four point restraints. Anyone from MGH or NEMEC (or anyone else for that matter), do your non-sworn staff have the ability to do this?
 
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