Private Security and the Law, Third Edition

By Adrian Barnie, CPP, CFE

Private Security and the Law, Third Edition. By Charles Nemeth; published by Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS International, Item #1626, 703/519-6200 (phone), (Web); 475 pages; $60 (ASIS members); $66 (nonmembers).


Plaintiffs in search of corporate “deep pockets” often bring charges of unsound security practices and procedures. It thus serves security professionals well to be aware of relevant case law at both the federal and state levels.

Charles Nemeth has released the third edition of his highly acclaimed Private Security and the Law. For years, it has proved to be an indispensable guide to civil and criminal liability stemming from acts or omissions committed by the security function. This newest edition updates the principles with new case law.

But the highlight of this book is the chapter devoted to judicial decisions old and new. They range from a 1921 Supreme Court case dealing with search and seizure to a 2003 Kansas case in which a suspected shoplifter claimed that private security guards unreasonably detained her while acting under the color of law. Other notable chapters cover regulations, licensing, education, and training; search and seizure; the interpretation of evidence; and cooperation among public and private law enforcement.

Among the three useful appendices included, one shows state licensing legislation for security officers in Florida, another lists private security associations and groups, and the third offers examples of state licensing forms. The book is well footnoted throughout.

Toward the end of the book, Nemeth explores the “caste system” between security and law enforcement. This section, which explains how to overcome this mentality, is a must-read for security management professionals.

Designed for college students—with discussion questions following every chapter—this book would likewise make an excellent learning aid for training programs and refresher classes. While it reads like the legal text it is, the book is nevertheless well worth investing time in.

Reviewer: Adrian Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), is manager of investigations for The Intelligence Group International, an affiliate of Corporate Screening Services, Inc, in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of ASIS International.



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