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  • You can't be a Jedi and a Sith...

    Well this is a new one for me. One of the stores in our center hired a contract co. to do LP (some outfit I've never heard of that doesn't even have a website). We get a call (from another store) saying that something is going on. When our security arrives, the store guard has a guy detained for shoplifting. All good, we just need some basic info and we'll be on our way.

    The guard has major attitude, telling the suspect not to say a word to us, and the guard refuses to say anything. Turns out he knows the guy, and feels bad for him. Pulls the same routine with the police, who just smile and tell the guard to go away, they'll take over.

    I talked to this guard when he started, and it isn't a case of the fox guarding the chicken coop, so to speak. I think he's probably an honest S/O, and was mad or confused by having to detain his friend. If you're going to do this kind of work, you don't get to have it both ways. If a buddy was so stupid or desperate that he would commit a theft at a place he knew I worked, I'm sorry, but I'd play it by the book.

    Taking an attitude with us was just dumb (its our shopping center, so guess what, you're in our jurisdiction); being rude to the police was unprofessional. Is he still working at that store? YES. Another loser that shouldn't be in this business...

  • #2
    When people find themselves in situations that raise conflicts between competing loyalties or values, etc., they often become paralyzed, and may not resolve the conflict in the most reasonable or "proper" way. I don't see anything particularly unusual about this, although I agree with you that he didn't prioritize his values properly here.

    It's a good idea for everyone in an "enforcement" position, if possible, to think through various FORESEEABLE conflict situations in advance, and settle the conflict in your mind before it ever arises.

    For a cop, for instance, it might be "What do I do if a friend/mom/wife/mayor/celebrity or another cop pops up speeding on my radar gun, DUI, etc?"

    BUT - resolving the issue "theoretically" in your mind isn't the end of it. It's easy to say what you WOULD do, but when it comes down to what you WILL do when you're in that situation is quite another matter. Yes, you've set the rule that you THINK you will follow, but It will take moral fortitude to do so. Sadly, not everyone is possessed of moral fortitude - which amounts to a fixed determination and the courage to do what is right, regardless - and if you're lacking there no one can help you.

    Will you "enforce" your own rules ON YOURSELF? That's the real question.

    And here's something else, namely what you do "at the margins." In other words, it's probably much easier to "follow your rule" when the offense in question is way over the line. If the city councilman is doing 20 mph over the limit it's a pretty easy call. But what about 8 mph, which might be the criterion where you would normally write a ticket to an "ordinary" citizen? Do you pretend it was 7 mph and let him off with a warning? X ounces of weed is a felony and the mayor's son is a half ounce over the limit...what do you do?

    Or in LP, your friend shoplifts $505 in merchandise when $500 is the line where the store prosecutes shoplifters. Do you shade the facts to "give him a break"?

    Those marginal situations can be the hardest test of your resolve to treat everyone equally.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 10-12-2017, 10:56 AM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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    • #3
      You bring up some good points. Yes, the CEO parked in the handicap stall would get a verbal warning, and the loading dock worker who is constantly late would probably get a ticket or have his car towed. How I deal with a habitual, known criminal is different than how I deal with a homeless vet who broke a small rule.

      Since I wasn't in on this incident and its still an active case, I left a lot out. What bothered me is he gave the impression we were the bad guys, and that somehow the suspect was supposed to get sympathy for what he did. (Let's be clear, this guy didn't steal a loaf of bread for his starving family.) I understand that security (and law enforcement) is tough if you come from a place where you or your family have been mistreated or discriminated against by security and cops.

      Enforcing rules and protecting people / property does involve moral choices. Maybe we should stress that more in training and at hiring. If you think people who commit crimes need a pass because of a bad childhood or institutional bias, then you need to go work in a defense lawyer's office or work for some non-profit group trying to change laws, help prisoners, etc. It would be the same if a guard was a dedicated communist - why on earth would you work a job protecting a capitalist business and its private property, assuming you had no hidden agenda?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Condo Guard View Post
        Well this is a new one for me. One of the stores in our center hired a contract co. to do LP (some outfit I've never heard of that doesn't even have a website). We get a call (from another store) saying that something is going on. When our security arrives, the store guard has a guy detained for shoplifting. All good, we just need some basic info and we'll be on our way.

        The guard has major attitude, telling the suspect not to say a word to us, and the guard refuses to say anything. Turns out he knows the guy, and feels bad for him. Pulls the same routine with the police, who just smile and tell the guard to go away, they'll take over.

        I talked to this guard when he started, and it isn't a case of the fox guarding the chicken coop, so to speak. I think he's probably an honest S/O, and was mad or confused by having to detain his friend. If you're going to do this kind of work, you don't get to have it both ways. If a buddy was so stupid or desperate that he would commit a theft at a place he knew I worked, I'm sorry, but I'd play it by the book.

        Taking an attitude with us was just dumb (its our shopping center, so guess what, you're in our jurisdiction); being rude to the police was unprofessional. Is he still working at that store? YES. Another loser that shouldn't be in this business...
        Not to split hairs, but your "jurisdiction" in the shopping center would be the "common" areas such as the open spaces between stores, not in the stores itself. If it isn't something that can potentially people outside the store (such as a gas leak, water leak, etc..) then you probably shouldn't be involving yourself in the store's internal matters. Of course, this is the type of things that can vary according to the agreements in place between property management and the tenants.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Consolewatcher View Post

          Not to split hairs, but your "jurisdiction" in the shopping center would be the "common" areas such as the open spaces between stores, not in the stores itself. If it isn't something that can potentially people outside the store (such as a gas leak, water leak, etc..) then you probably shouldn't be involving yourself in the store's internal matters. Of course, this is the type of things that can vary according to the agreements in place between property management and the tenants.
          Not so. In many malls, one of the conditions of renting space allows mall security (and other mall support units such as maintenance) to operate freely within the rented space. For instance, a shoplifter at one store moves to another one, followed by mall security. Mall security CAN confront the individual anywhere within the mall property, including space rented by stores. And, in fact, most stores welcome it because it means they can avoid hiring their own security staff while avoiding the liability of not doing so.
          "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

          "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

          "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

          "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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          • #6
            Correct. My impression is that our "mall" (for lack of a better term) is a bit stricter because it is owned by a limited partnership, and our management office handles all advertising, special events, etc. We don't get involved in the store's internal business, but anything that affects the center or other merchants is our business. Console is right in that any contact or detaining by mall security takes place outside the store; but we have a right to know what is going on within our property. All we wanted was information; it was the LP's incident & the PD's arrest.

            If it sounds a bit draconian, there is an advantage - for example, if enough merchants complaint about Joe Blow's behavior, we can ban Mr. Blow ourselves (following proper procedures, of course) without having to have each merchant get a separate trespass letter, etc.

            Last edited by Condo Guard; 10-13-2017, 03:23 AM.

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            • #7
              I had a situation once where we did a ban on a store employee. was kind of awkward, but said employee was allowed directly to and from their place of employment only. The mall I worked at we were occasionally asked to assist with LP of one of the anchor stores when they made an apprehension in the common area. We rarely heard a peep from the other anchor store.

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              • #8
                Doesn't sound too bad, taken at face value. In everyone's best interest to keep it simple.

                I was in a multicar accident and older guy was telling the obviously at fault kid to STFU and do like his card says and "don't admit fault".

                Then again I'd wonder if they weren't working together, and poorly.

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