Is Robocop Far Off?

You have to wonder if “Robocop” is far off when you read a news account that the Virginia Port Authority plans to replace the majority of its 71-officer sworn police force with contract security guards. For those whose memory doesn’t go back to 1987, the film stars a hybrid robot/human officer rebuilt through technology after he had been shot. One of the issues in the movie was the farming out of police duties to the private sector.

For many reasons, we do not believe this is a good trend. Primary among them is the training and expertise that sworn officers bring to the job every day. They are directly responsible to the community. Private security guards would not bring this higher level of service.

Police officers are part of the community. They typically live in the town the work in. They’re invested. We can’t say the same for contract security forces. They may have a passion for law enforcement, but not necessarily that level of “local caring” that a hometown guy or gal has for the town in which s/he lives.

For each step that a city or town takes that “farms” out a service, there is a loss of control. Communities shouldn’t want that, and we certainly don’t.

We may joke about the “Robocop” syndrome, but with the tightening of local budgets nationally, every police department and sheriff’s office is looking for other solutions to help keep crime down. Our electronic security industry is a potential huge source of help to law enforcement.

At SIAC, our effort to reduce alarm dispatches and help departments bring in revenue through fees and fines is vital to keeping sworn officer response in the communities we work with. Dealers can do their part by targeting and fixing their own chronic abusers, using CP-01 equipment, training customers well and instructing their monitoring centers to utilize ECV (2-call verification).

We’re proud to work with police departments and sheriff’s offices on collaborative alarm management solutions. The more the companies in our industry step forward to help, the more we’ll maintain solid local law enforcement partners.


Executive Director of SIAC
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One Response to Is Robocop Far Off?

  1. Ron Haner says:

    The problem with outsourcing is when the jurisdiction does it out of desperation, because it then generally goes too far. Private security alarm response has an effective role to play as a part of the total response picture. It can be an important part of an overall false alarm reduction program. It is best employed for “abusive” alarm sites that either can’t or won’t fix their problem; or for alarm sites that have reached the threshold set by the jurisdiction for too many false alarms and have been suspended from police response; and their are other legitimate uses for private security alarm response as well. However, private security is a supplement to, or supportive element of, the sworn response. It cannot be, and should never be considered, a replacement for a sworn police officer and all the professionalism that entails.


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