A Clear View of Liability

By D. Anthony Nichter, CPP

Operator inexperience. The first deficiency is having staff that is never fully competent technologically and operationally. The cause may be high employee turnover due to low pay, poor benefits, and supervisors with poor people skills.

Poor training. Next is when the operators do not understand the behavioral or legal implications of the images due to a lack of training or experience. Companies that suffer the first deficiency (inexperienced staff) will likely suffer the second, but even companies without high turnover may suffer this deficiency if they fail to provide proper training.

At one Nevada gaming resort, the surveillance operators directed security floor personnel to detain various patrons who seemed to be acting suspiciously. The directive originated with a previous director of surveillance who had misinterpreted legal statutes. The former director thought that anybody inside the casino could legally be detained based upon any suspicion. This led to several lawsuits for false imprisonment.

At another casino, the surveillance operators were never taught to discriminate between nongaming misdemeanors and felonies. This distinction is critical because the law requires that for a misdemeanor arrest to be lawful, the person making the arrest must have witnessed the crime. This lack of training resulted in multiple lawsuits. Most were settled out of court; one that went to trial was ruled a false arrest.


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