Liability as it applies to private security and state security regulations is different. The police, in general, enjoy qualified immunity that protects them in case they end up breaching the law while performing their duty. In fact, law enforcement personnel are required to undergo training and education. There are many governing bodies that regulate how public officials should behave.
Professionals in the private security sector also have to deter criminal or suspicious activity, but their training and education requirements vary from employer to employer. Private security personnel are required to follow the federal and state laws as they apply to any other employee.
More specifically, security personnel are more vulnerable to cases involving negligence and they are also liable for actions involving intentional injury.
Security guards should be aware of the degree of permissible force that they are authorized to use. This can be difficult to determine in certain cases. Security personnel should not use more force than is necessary to reasonably remove or retrain individuals.
The employer of the security guard can be held liable if they assault a person. This can be seen in the court case Hawkins v. Wilton (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 936-44 [51 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 5-6]. In other words, many states, including Texas, place the responsibility of hiring competent security personnel by carrying out background checks and ensuring they have adequate training.
The civil case Cervantez v. J.C. Penney Company is a classic example of liabilities enforced upon security personnel. In this case, Penney was sued for false arrest, assault and battery, negligence, and intentional tort. Another case that has heavily impacted the private security is Burdeau v. McDowell.
In the Burdeau v. McDowell, Mr. McDowell filed an action against the district court requesting an order for the return to him of certain items. He alleged that thr items were unlawfully confiscated from him. The Supreme Court ruled that the government was allowed to hold the items in order to use them for prosecuting an offense because the times were of an incrimination nature and did not violate the owner’s rights.
The court also ruled that the plaintiff’s fourth or fifth amendments were not violated when the items were seized from them.
This case proves that security personnel can, within certain jurisdictional limits, and within the law of color, seize a person’s belongings as long as they are acting unlawfully or damaging property.