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by Peter Moskos

February 10, 2011

Guardian Angels foil 'L' Robbery in Chicago

Even since I felt safer after seeing them on the 'L' growing up in Chicago, I've always been pro-Guardian Angels. But they've never so popular among police, or at least police unions, who don't like to see other people keeping the city safe... and doing it for free. Their founder, Curtis Sliwa, certainly has some tales to tell, and sometimes those tales have been told a little tall. But interestingly, after all these years, I've never heard about a scandal among the rand-and-file Guardian Angels. That's impressive discipline.

Here's a story of Angels in action, from today's Sun-Times.


Anonymous said...

And what's more, the Angels will almost certainly be held accountable if they step over the line. That seems to be in sharp contrast to public police at this point.

I work in a private, non-sworn capacity in the healthcare security field. I would bet that I am held to a higher standard of behavior than most sworn officers at this point (and some of this is micromanaging, so it is not all a good thing). As budget problems persist and confidence in government police lags, I believe people need to take an honest look at private actors like the Angels.

Dave H.- IL

PCM said...

I see what you're saying, sort of.

But if there's a youtube clip of a private security guard being necessarily rough with somebody, it's not a big deal. If a cop does the same thing, it's potential riots and his job on the line. I think cops are held to a higher standard. (And they get away with a lot, too.)

Anonymous said...


The private officer's job may well be on the line too. I think it is quite likely that my employer would hang an incident around my neck in order to make it look like they are "doing something" about a problem. They would, no doubt, be advised to sacrifice me to lessen potential legal liability. I would then be terminated, not put on "paid administrative leave." I don't have a union rep that will go in and bark about "Monday morning quarterbacking."

I believe it is also more likely that I would be arrested for an incident. As a private citizen, they could just charge me with battery and ship me off. A use of force incident involving a public officer is almost always considered to be equivocal. Also, public police have a tendency to see the private officer as either 1.) The competition or 2.) An untrained rube who wasn't good enough to be the real POlice, so I am not sure I would get the benefit of the doubt during an investigation. Just some "security guard" that wasn't good enough to be one of us!

I will concede that riots are unlikely if a private officer shows up on YouTube. But, the consequences for that officer, as an individual, could be a very big deal. Public police have the advantages of a more organized training regimen and public funds for equipment (I, on the other hand, pay for most of my equipment), but they aren't necessarily held up to a higher standard than private counterparts, largely because they are given so much leeway, and a fair amount of legal immunity.

Dave H- IL

Marc said...

Incidentally, here's how Nepal natives handle train robberies on their own turf. http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=27100