Saturday, November 6, 2010

Private Security Continues to Invade American Towns

APS logo (image: APS)
Brandon Turbeville

A couple nights ago, I was sitting in front of the TV waiting on the local campaign coverage. Amid the mindless programming that passes for entertainment, and the irritating advertisements that follow it, a particular commercial caught my eye. This commercial, which initially resembled the trailer for COPS, depicted uniformed officers carrying out their nightly duties. One of these scenes involved an officer manhandling and arresting a suspect in what appears to be a public place. While my initial reaction was one of disgust for the glorification of the police state, I was somewhat more disturbed when I saw what this commercial was actually advertising. It was for a relatively new company named Advanced Protection Services, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

APS is a private investigations and security contractor functioning in only two states, as of yet – South Carolina and Arizona. Its staff is drawn from former law enforcement and military personnel and its services range from property and nightclub security to community patrol.  The latter, which is stated clearly on the APS website, is particularly concerning due to the fact that, while there may be a place for private security firms, “community patrol” is a local police duty.  Interestingly enough, APS patrol cars are similar to Horry County and Myrtle Beach city police cars and have been seen in the area before.  Whether or not these vehicles were patrolling is unknown. However, a presence has clearly been established.

Nevertheless, without the benefit of local advertising, one might have been lulled into thinking that the new cars patrolling their neighborhoods with “Advanced Protection Services” painted on the side were merely the result of the creation of another specialized task force designed to harass the citizenry and waste taxpayer money. Unfortunately, while this would be bad enough, it appears that South Carolina has now been invaded by a miniature version of Blackwater Xe. This is a clear indication of the rise of the trend in private security firms engaging in work that was once done by local police who are allegedly accountable to the people. (See here as well.)

Last year, it was discovered that a private security company, American Police Force, had entered the small town of Hardin, Montana and had assumed the duties of patrolling the town and enforcing laws. APF had originally been contracted to provide security at a detention center near Hardin. However, not long after, residents were answering to them as if they were real law enforcement personnel. APF “officers” were soon driving around in police patrol vehicles, harassing citizens, and acting as if they were truly the authority in Hardin. Only after the independent media, such as Alex Jones’ Infowars, exposed APF did the mercenaries leave Hardin.

Private security forces, DynCorp specifically, were also used in the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans.  The use of private security forces in war theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan is bad enough, but their use against the American people is unconscionable.  Unfortunately, this is a trend that is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds every year. While one can argue that there is a place for private security companies, there is no argument to be made for their assuming duties designated to local police forces. It is important for everyone to remember that private security forces, whether contracted out by the government, businesses, or acting alone, have no jurisdiction. They are not police officers and should not be treated as such.

It’s not likely that many local police officers appreciate private security being brought in to do the jobs designated to them -- especially when these contractors make many times more money than public officers for doing the same (if not less) amount of work. Thus, it is important for everyone -- average citizens and police officers alike -- to speak up and stop private security forces from invading our communities. For those communities that have already been invaded, it’s time to make your voices heard and drive them out.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University where he earned the Pee Dee Electric Scholar’s Award as an undergraduate. He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He also the author of Codex Alimentarius - The End of Health Freedom 

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Anonymous said...

Great points and observations,....I have been preaching for years how tacky/dangerous the show COPS was, it incubated the idea of this kind of crap in the fact, one could go further and point out the legal, appropriate behavior to exhibit when approached by one of the private cops......I grew up in a family of very corrupt cops/court personnel and know how bad the legitimate law enforcement can be,.....let alone these private asses.....and, they had better understand, they may have a lot of guns and equipment at their disposal, and they work in groups,.....but they have to go home from work at some point in time, and they have to sleep, if they decide to exercise their supposed authority on me, will hurt sooner or later......



Madman from Maui said...

I work in the security industry as a consultant, for the placement of advanced security cameras. There are many of these private security patrols, with the power to arrest and detain, popping up in Southern California. There are a lot of sinister misconceptions concerning the aims and methods of these private security patrols. In my business of advanced security cameras, these private security patrols are filling a niche, they can be contracted to respond immediately to a home or business alarms triggered by fire or intrusion. The fact is, the state of California is broke, and the police force is being cut back and the economy is going south. There are places in California, with concentrations of wealthy communities still in tact, that can hire or contract their own private policeman who have the power of arrest. Is this a good or a bad thing? If the government is unable to provide protection to people with means anymore, then that job of protecting will go on sale to the highest bidder because there is lots of unemployment veterans nowadays. And for those people without means, it means joining a private militia, probably based on ethnic and religious lines, to protect you from the private security forces. Just like in Afghanistan, Karma is a bitch

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to know if this private company has been employed by any state ,county or city government. If so, I would like to do a Freedom of Information Act Request to the public agency that hired them to see all the documentation regarding the contract, prices paid, etc. regarding this type of activity.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying the practice of employing private security forces for protection is either good or bad. However, you and your readers might be interested to know there is a Federal law on the books that allows any city or state police force to ignore a citizen's plea for assistance if they so choose (and, individual police officers and departments often choose to do just that). Supposedly, this law is to prevent police departments and their personnel from being sued for not providing proper patrolling and protection. The downside, and obviously unbeknownst to the general public, is government provided police have no legal mandate to provide us with any police protection whatsoever, much less timely protection.

That is exactly one of the major reasons you are now seeing such a great increase in the informed public purchasing guns, getting CCW permits, employing guard dogs, placing barred barricades over windows and doors, and employing private police for that which has supposedly already been paid for by our hard-earned tax dollars. What you don't know can hurt you!

Anonymous said...

Madman from Maui: LOL! Karma can be a bitch that's for sure. That's the hilarious thing about war, neither side "wins." Moreover, that's the thing the mass media never teaches the sheeple. Every single war the US has been in has led to some seriously dark consequences that people forget or don't realize. This last "war," if we can call it that, is the hammer to the last nail in the freedom and liberty coffin. Karma is indeed a bitch, folks!

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