The policing department in the United States of America is distinctively subdivided into two; the public police and the private police. The public police are the officers employed by the federal government and charged with the duty of maintaining peace and order in the country. They are bound to protocols set by the state. The structure of the public police is basically hierarchal and whatever is done by the officers is dictated by their seniors in the force. They are permitted to arrest, interrogate and can gain access to protected information.
The private police however are private proprietors who offer their services to the public at a fee. These are mostly offered by security companies. They generally handle all kinds of ‘dirty’ handiwork that the public officers can barely agree to handle. The fee that they charge varies widely and is usually subject to negotiation as this is more or less a private business. The private sector is usually approached by individuals to do some investigations that may even include trailing and stalking the victims for very flimsy reasons, provided this is done at a fee.
The private police are considered by many to be adjuncts to the public police. Attention is given to a number of factors and basis that interweave the basic private-public police distinction. These include functions, interests served, organizational format, mobility, accessibility and location. These two occasionally become functionally or organizationally linked. These include joint public-private police investigations, public agents hiring or at times delegating authority to private police, private police hiring public police and the circulation of personnel between the two (Hougan, 1978). Joint Private-Public Police Investigations:
These two team up to form a single group in investigations where both parties are bound to benefit from the abilities of each other; thus forming a form of symbiotic relationship here. They pool their resources and are both involved in investigating the crime in question. The private sector of the police can easily infiltrate criminal gangs as undercover agents with little chances of getting caught as. They can then pass the useful information gathered to the public police who from there implement the law and may even take very little time in getting the case solved and the culprits brought to book.
Private security companies have their officers deployed in very many government corporations such as nuclear facilities, public buildings, NASA, city halls, courthouses, public housing projects, military base among many others. One of the most famous cases to ever be solved by the use of joint public and private police operations is that Silicon Valley case involving IBM and Hitachi when Hitachi allegedly approached an IBM worker and requested for documents.
The worker reported this to the IBM directors who called on FBI agents to form a sting operation with the IBM security team and the document buyers were apprehended by the police through this joint operation and arraigned in court for prosecution with charges of seeking to acquire trade secrets of IBM. The National Automobile Theft Bureau is a private police initiative that targets automobile thieves and is generally supported by many insurance companies (Marx, 2008).