Private Security and the Law

4th Edition

Authors: Charles Nemeth
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123869227
eBook ISBN: 9780123869234
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 21st October 2011
Page Count: 640
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Private Security and the Law, Fourth Edition traces legal developments affecting the private security industry. It examines the industrys staying power and ability to adapt to changes in law enforcement, from street and community protection to the protection of assets, buildings, and people. It considers the roles of law and legal analysis in private-sector justice, and shows how areas such as courts, prisons, policing, and community services are drawn into the world of privatization.

The book is divided into eight chapters encompassing topics ranging from the historical foundations of private security to professionalism in the industry. It walks the reader through the laws of arrest, search, and seizure and their applications in the private sector, along with the nature of civil liability and the criminal liability of security personnel. It also discusses the role of private security in enforcing the law and explains how evidence is collected, preserved, and interpreted. Moreover, it compares law enforcement in the public and private sectors and considers the concepts of self-help and self-protection, as well as the constitutional framework of criminal justice in the United States. Other chapters address the place of arrest in private sector justice, challenges to the safe harbor of private security, and positive programs for interaction and cooperation between the public and private sectors in law enforcement. Selected cases that have set precedents for private security are also presented. This book is a valuable resource for security managers and traineers, as well as for educators.

Key Features

  • Authoritative, scholarly treatise sheds light on this increasingly important area of the law
  • Historical background helps readers understand the present by seeing the full context of recent developments
  • National scope provides crucial parameters to security practitioners throughout the US
  • NEW TO THIS EDITION! A chapter on the legal implications of private contractors operating in war zones like Afghanistan, updated coverage of statutory authority, updated coverage of state and federal processes of oversight and licensure, special analysis of public-private cooperative relationships in law enforcement


Students in Physical Security, Security Management, and Criminal Justice programs in traditional and for-profit schools; security professionals; law enforcement

Table of Contents



1. Historical Foundations of Private Security

Introduction: The Concepts of Self-Help and Self-Protection

Historical Foundations

Coming of Age: Private Security

Contemporary Private Security

Discussion Questions


2. Regulation, Licensing, Education, and Training

Introduction: The Impetus for Increased Regulation

Federal Regulation

State Regulation

Ethical Considerations


Discussion Questions


3. The Law of Arrest, Search, and Seizure


Constitutional Framework of American Criminal Justice

Arrest and Private Sector Justice

The Law of Search and Seizure: Public Police

The Law of Search and Seizure: Private Police

Challenges to the Safe Harbor of Private Security

Constitutional Prognosis for Private Security


Discussion Questions


4. Civil Liability of Security Personnel


The Nature of Civil Liability

Classification of Civil Wrongs/Torts

Remedies under the Civil Rights Act: 42 U.S.C. §1983


Discussion Questions


5. Criminal Liability of Security Personnel

Introduction: The Problem of Criminal Liability

Defenses to Criminal Acts: Self-Help


Discussion Questions


6. The Enforcement of Laws and the Collection, Preservation, and Interpretation of Evidence

Introduction: Private Security’s Role in Enforcing the Law

Defining Criminal Liability

Classification of Criminal Offenses and Related Penalties

Specific Types of Crimes and Offenses


Discussion Questions


7. Public and Private Law Enforcement

Introduction: The Relationship between the Public and Private Sectors

Positive Programs on Inte


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About the Author

Charles Nemeth

Charles Nemeth, JD, Ph.D., LL.M. is currently a professor and the Chair of the Security, Fire and Emergency Management Department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY. He is a widely published author with over 30 titles to his credit and is a regular consultant to security companies. He holds a JD from the University of Baltimore and a post doctoral degree in Law, Psychiatry and Criminology, the LL.M., from the National Law Center of George Washington University. Dr. Nemeth is a recognized expert in private sector justice, ethical issues in law and legal analysis and appellate practice, and also holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Duquesne University. For more than two decades, he has practiced law in both the civil and criminal arena, specializing in personal injury and criminal litigation, and has been active in the North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania Bars. He regularly consults with collegiate institutions and private sector justice entities.

Affiliations and Expertise

Chair and Professor Security, Fire and Emergency Management John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY


"The information provided is critical to security managers, particularly if they are responsible for premises liability. This book was a pleasant surprise—the best, most comprehensive insight into private security law to date." --Security Management, June 2013

"Private Security and the Law, 4th Edition, is a unique resource that provides analysis of practices in the security industry as they relate to law, regulation, licensure, and constitutional questions of case and statutory authority. This book describes the legal requirements faced in the area of private security. It emphasizes the liability problems common to security operations, including negligence and tortious liability, civil actions frequently litigated, and strategies to avoid legal actions that affect business efficiency. The text also examines the constitutional and due-process dimensions of private security both domestically and internationally, including recent cases and trends that will set pace for future private security laws and regulations. As private security becomes more closely involved in national and international security, cases like Blackwater are examined. The author takes you step by step through the analysis of case law as it applies to situations commonly faced in the private security practice, providing a solid introduction to the legal and ethical standards that shape the industry." --ASIS