There is often confusion regarding the actions that can be taken by private security guards in relation to their duties and interactions with the public. In the State of California, there are restrictions and laws in place to protect private security guards, the companies that employ them, and the private citizens they serve or encounter. Any entity that utilizes private security guards is bound by the laws that govern their state. The staff at ADS Guards, a leading provider of Hayward security services, has put together a list of five actions security guards are not allowed to take in the State of California.
1. Impersonate or Act in the Capacity of Police Officers
Public and private security guards are not police and do not have the authority or training police officers have. Impersonating a police officer or threatening to perform the actions of a police officer is a crime in the State of California.
2. Investigate Crime
Although a private security guard can gather information for internal reporting purposes for the company that employs them, they do not have the power to investigate crimes. They are bound by law to notify the proper authorities in the event of a crime. However, their main purpose is to protect the crime scene for law enforcement authorities.
3. Expand Their Authority
Private security guard authority is restricted to the property or person(s) they have been contracted to serve, and they must follow the rules of engagement as set forth by their employer. Private security guards are members of the public. Only while within the boundaries of their contracted property may security guards have all powers and responsibilities of the property owner and conduct themselves with such authority.
4. Perform a Search and Seizure
Hayward armed security guards are not allowed to conduct searches on people or their property to find evidence for making a citizen’s arrest. However, they may detain suspected persons for law enforcement. According to The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services 2015 Power to Arrest Training Manual, private security guards may only conduct searches if they have reason to believe their lives are in danger or if they believe a weapon is involved.
5. Make an Arrest
Because private security guards are not police officers, their detention and arrest powers fall under the regulations that govern citizen’s arrest. A common mistake private security guards make is thinking their authority is more than it is under the law. According to California Penal Code 837, a private citizen may arrest another when:
- A public offense has been committed or attempted in his or her presence
- The person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the private citizen’s presence
- A felony has been committed, and the private citizen has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested has committed it
Despite the above limitations, highly trained security guards can be invaluable resources. If you’re looking for residential or corporate security services in Hayward, reach out to ADS Guards. We have been protecting the Bay Area for nearly two decades. Call 1-800-794-1550 today to receive a complimentary quote.