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  1. #1
    leopheard is offline Junior Member leopheard is on a distinguished road
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    Security guards - arrest vs detain

    Hi all,

    I am looking at a move from the Police in the UK to NC. As NC DCJS guidelines state, I would have to be a citizen first and therefore am looking at security work.

    It seems NC is the only state with no citizen's arrest laws, just to 'detain'. What is the difference between citizen's arrest in another state, LEO arrest in NC and any person 'detaining'?

    Are NC security authorised to use reasonable force when detaining? (Cant seem to find the NC GS for use of force). I see it as they are authorised to deprive someone of their liberty, but not to transport to a police station? Do security use any common law in addition to statute?

    Do the Police in NC work well with security? Is there any animosity there?

    Finally, what is the diff between reasonable force and deadly? Bit strange as bullets don't seem to have a preference! The UK Police haven't had a use of deadly force statute since the 1880s.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    CPL1897's Avatar
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    Actually from the 15 seconds of research, it appears that NC is the only state that does not have a statute "empowering citizens to make a arrest". Security Guards are considered a citizen.

    While I am not familiar with NC laws, I can only speak of my state and my experiences.

    I can tell you in my 15+ years of LE, I have yet to encounter a citizen "attempting" or "making" a "citizens arrest".

    I have however dealt with many theft (shoplifting) cases where a "security guard" has "detained" someone until the Police arrive.

    Most states in the USA (except NC) give citizens the "legal" right to "detain" someone who has committed a FELONY, caused serious injury to another or committed a theft. A NC LEO can correct me if I am wrong (cant believe everything on the internet).

    However, just because the law allows someone to "legally detain" another person, the citizen opens themselves up for "civil" issues, mainly "civil rights violations".

    IMO, a citizen is only going to put themselves in a LOT of danger if they try to "detain" someone or make a "citizens arrest". I have no personal issues with "security guards" in general. Its the ones who think and act like "LEO's" that I despise!

    As for "deadly force" and "reasonable force", it's simple. "Reasonable Force" is the "minimal amount of force" required to "arrest" someone or stop someone from continuing to "resist arrest" or stop a "violent act being committed", etc. and can escalate up to the use of "deadly force", which is self explanatory. Deadly Force is considered force that could cause serious bodily injury or death, examples would be hitting someone in the head with a baton, ramming another vehicle with your vehicle, or simply SHOOTING someone.

    There are many other scenarios and examples of reasonable and deadly force, maybe a fellow LEO can even explain it better since I am brain dead at the moment from being awake for over 24 hours!
    "TO PROTECT THE SHEEP FROM THE WOLVES, YOU HAVE TO THINK AND ACT LIKE A WOLF"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPL1897 View Post
    There are many other scenarios and examples of reasonable and deadly force, maybe a fellow LEO can even explain it better since I am brain dead at the moment from being awake for over 24 hours!
    CPL1897 did a great job articulating what reasonable force and deadly force are within the U.S., though I will add one point. With reasonable force I would definite it as the minimal amount of force NECESSARY with regard to the totality of the circumstances of a given situation to make an enforcement action (ex: arrest, stop someone from resisting arrest, prevent someone from continuing a certain activity/behavior, etc.), which can escalate up to the use of deadly force should the situation change where the officer or a third party is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

    For example, you have a female officer who is 5'2", 120 lbs (no clue what these would be under the UK metric system, but a short, petite lady). She affecting an arrest of a suspect while awaiting backup to arrive on scene (so she's currently by herself) with a 6'10", 200 lbs man (stocky, slightly taller than average height) who has a record of prior assaults. That female officer may decide to pull out her expandable baton to keep in hand in case the male suspect gets froggy (or as you Brits may say, "acts like a bloody ******"), and if he does it's reasonable for her to strike him with the baton (not intentionally in the head or groin, as that would be deemed deadly force everywhere I'm aware of) without having to use her empty mitts before resorting to a "weapon." It all depends on the totality of the circumstances of THAT given situation. A 6'5" officer taking a baton swing to an already-handcuffed pregnant female suspect of the same height/weight as the previous female officer would in most cases be unreasonble.

    And Bob's your uncle!
    Last edited by Kimble; 03-28-13 at 11:02 AM.


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  4. #4
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    Do security use any common law in addition to statute?

    "There's common law here Jim, but not as we know it...."

    English common law has a tenuous hold in various United States jurisdictions. It certainly isn't as "live" or influential as it is in the UK or in Australia, where I am. From the little I know I'd suggest that any recourse to English common law by any citizen or police officer for that matter would be a bit of a stretch.

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    Citizens can make arrests in Oregon. In fact, on shoplifting, technically the LP person at the store makes the arrest and signs a custody report. From there, we can either cite and release or transport to jail, but it's the citizen's arrest, not ours.
    I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was, and now what I'm with isn't it. And what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grampa Simpson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat_Doc View Post
    You just gotta realize he is hard of hearing and cranky, and try to speak up more clearly next time and make it perfectly clear what you were saying so there is no misinterpretation. You gotta try not to get mad at the old guy, recognizing the issue at hand.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by retdetsgt View Post
    Citizens can make arrests in Oregon. In fact, on shoplifting, technically the LP person at the store makes the arrest and signs a custody report. From there, we can either cite and release or transport to jail, but it's the citizen's arrest, not ours.
    That would be interesting. Here, LP can detain but not use "force" for shoplifting. They detain them, fill out a "sworn statement" and then WE arrest and charge them based on the "sworn written statement" as our "PC".

    I usually make my guys just issue a "Notice to Appear" in court if its not a Felony amount and the suspect doesn't have any prior "failure to appear" charges.
    "TO PROTECT THE SHEEP FROM THE WOLVES, YOU HAVE TO THINK AND ACT LIKE A WOLF"

  7. #7
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    Citizens can use reasonable force here. Every once in a while some store security will have to tackle and restrain some nutcase shoplifter. I kind of like it, it takes us more or less out of the loop when there is a false charge or other problem.

    They can also issue traffic citations too with the assistance of a police officer. To be honest, I'm not sure how it works, I never came up against it. But I know it's been done although I think I probably daydreamed through that training years ago.

    There was a flap about 10 years ago when a lawyer issued a parking ticket to a police officer who parked his patrol car in a no parking zone to go in and pick up a sandwich from a deli.
    I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was, and now what I'm with isn't it. And what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grampa Simpson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat_Doc View Post
    You just gotta realize he is hard of hearing and cranky, and try to speak up more clearly next time and make it perfectly clear what you were saying so there is no misinterpretation. You gotta try not to get mad at the old guy, recognizing the issue at hand.

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