The Retail Loss Prevention Officer: The Fundamental Elements of Retail Security and Safety. By Anthony D. Manley; published by Pearson Prentice Hall, www.prenhall.com (Web); 356 pages; $44.
Perhaps it is a reflection of our times that this comprehensive account of the responsibilities of loss prevention officers begins not with an overview of those duties, but rather of the legal liability that officers may encounter. In that same vein, the author includes a note in the text that disclaims all personal liability "from the use or misuse of any of the information, techniques, or applications presented or implied in this book." Fortunately, the author isn't skittish in his advice, and what follows is a thorough treatment of issues.
The heart of the book details the fundamental elements of a retail loss prevention program. It considers internal and external investigations, audits, and special issues such as dealing with criminal justice agencies.
In the investigation sections, the author lays out the mechanics of an investigation and the possible legal pitfalls. He fine-tunes his earlier discussion of criminal law and civil liability to address specific applications. In addition to dealing with shoplifters, investigations also cover accident and fraud investigations, as well as internal investigations of dishonest employees. The discussion contains useful checklists that can be used as benchmarks, such as a list of "areas of concern for the placement of CCTV cameras."
Retail security officers also receive helpful information on physical security, safes, contractual services such as honesty shoppers, and media handling. Other informative material covers schemes and scams prevalent in retail and check and credit card fraud, the details of which can be used to create training presentations for cashiers and retail managers.
Sections on emergencies and report writing close out this thorough book. The emergency chapter addresses everything from bomb threats and bloodborne pathogens to labor union unrest and hazard communication. Comprehensive but not overwhelming, this book hits the mark for loss prevention officers, supervisors, and managers.
Reviewer: George J. Okaty, CPP, is a former security manager for a retail chain. He is currently the director of protective services for the Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. He has taught for several years as an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and he is a member of ASIS International.