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History of Private Security

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History of Private Security

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  • November 2011
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History of Private Security

Cortez Jefferies
Introduction to Security: Operations and Management
Gayle Fisher-Stewart
University Of Maryland University College
23 October 2011

Private security industry in the United States can be traced as far back as the mid nineteenth century, where they were primarily used to help fill the gaps created by public police forces in major cities that were just forming. Over the years the role of private security has changed, from its simplest form of protecting people, property, and information to a more complex form, of individuals and businesses that provide, for a fee, services to clientele to protect their persons, their private property, or their interests from various hazards. Early in its existence training for private security was non-existent or inadequate at best, over the years training has evolved and with that evolution came strict standards and guidelines.

Unlike in Europe, where public law enforcement emerged out of private security, in the United States private security emerged out of public law enforcement. Europeans brought many of the methods they used to protect people and property with them when they immigrated to the United States in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The positions of constable, watchman, and sheriff were borrowed from the English and were used to establish the first system of public law enforcement in the United States. As rapid growth occurred in the West throughout the early 1800s, it became clear that constables and watchmen weren't going to be able to provide the expansive services necessary to protect people and their property (Stone, 2002).

It wasn't until the late 1700s that municipal police agencies were implemented in major American cities. Established in 1844, the New York City police department provided twenty- four-hour police protection to its citizens. Thirty...