Private Police

When you bring up the idea of a private police force people generally cringe in disgust. For some reason our society has found healthy and ration self-interest, or making profits from your labor, to be a thing of disgust. Unlike those who cringe every time the idea of private police forces is brought up I actually want those tasked with protecting me to do so for selfish reasons like profit. Why? Because people do far better work when they know they will be rewarded for their effort.

Several towns, including one here in Minnesota, have started hiring private police to take on a majority of patrolling duties. Why would somebody consider doing that? Simple, private police are cheaper than the public ones:

Now, in an effort to save money, the city with a population of 2,600 is making a controversial move few others have done: Starting in January, it plans to employ a private security company to patrol its streets.
Foley is believed to be the first town in Minnesota to replace its police force with private guards, according to the Minnesota attorney general’s office.

Not only is the town likely to save money but there is another huge benefit:

Leoni said GSSC security officers go through extensive training comparable to police officers. They will carry firearms for their own protection and not to enforce laws, he said.


Swanson wrote that private security employees may carry a firearm but can use it only in self-defense. Private guards do not have the authority to make arrests other than citizens’ arrests, cannot pursue fleeing suspects, make DWI arrests or even traffic stops. There’s also the issue of whether self-incriminating statements or evidence taken from a suspect by a security officer could be used in court, she wrote.

The private security employees can carry firearms but can only use them under the same circumstances any other private individual can, in self-defense. One of the things that sickens me most about modern police forces is their apparent willingness to employ deadly force in situations where such violence isn’t justifiable and being granted immunity because they’re employees of the state. Private security employees have to obey the same laws as private individuals which is a huge step in the right direction in my book.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this experiment. My guess is the experiment will end with the town saving money and the rate of unnecessary police violence dropping. I also predict crime in general will be reduced as the private police must either do a job that satisfies their customers or face unemployment. The profit motivator is a great one as is directly connects a person’s performance to their reward so that better performance means more reward. Rational self-interest is healthy and one of the most powerful motivators that exists for any species.