THE MAGAZINE

Security Law and Methods

By William E. Thornton, Ph.D

***** Security Law and Methods. By James F. Pastor; published by Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier), www.elsevier.com (Web); 632 pages; $59.95.

With this book, author James F. Pastor attempts to weave together security standards, best practices, and the law to help prevent incidents that take place in commercial and public environments and to help the lawyers who litigate civil premises liability cases. He more than accomplishes his goal.

The book is built around a collection of cases and laws from different state and federal jurisdictions. Each chapter subject, such as negligent-employment claims, investigative cases and methods, workplace violence, off-duty police, and private security, includes a basic summary of the cause of action followed by carefully edited cases, including new legal rulings and established cases with precedent and historical value. There are also case comments from the author emphasizing principles derived from each case, contrasts with similar cases, and other facts that have affected the decisions.

Suggested security methods are discussed in each chapter, making the book unique in that the measures are derived from concrete illustrations. Additionally, discussion questions are given at the end of each major section of the book, which serves as a useful pedagogical tool.

Although there are other competent works in the field of private security law, Pastor breaks new ground with two full chapters exploring exposures and liabilities in the security industry and in public law enforcement, resulting from the elevated threat of terrorist acts in the United States.

The author’s skillful use of case law to analyze liability issues, coupled with his suggested security remedies, makes this book useful to those who have limited time to read and decipher legal decisions that could impact their security plans and procedures. I recommend this book as required reading for any security manager.


Reviewer: William E. Thornton, Ph.D., is professor of criminology and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Loyola University New Orleans. He has been a security and premises liability expert for over 25 years and operates Thornton & Voigt Security Consultants, Inc. He is a member of ASIS International.

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