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Security guards, armed or unarmed, do not possess the same powers that police officers do. However, they are still allowed to a few things that ordinary citizens are not.

Security guards are usually employed by private parties (businesses, individuals) and they enforce whatever rules the employer has set. This includes escorting someone out of the premises if necessary or detaining an offender if the security guard caught them in an act of crime or felony offense.

Security guards have the power to arrest an offender if necessary. That implies that the security guard has caught a person in an act of crime (at the security guard’s jurisdiction) such as stealing something or damaging the property. In that case, the security guard can make a citizen’s arrest and wait for the police to arrive and take over.

A Security Guards Jurisdiction

A security guard has the right to apply the rules that the employer has set but only on the property that they are hired to protect. This is what we refer to as a security guard’s jurisdiction. This means a security guard may ask you to follow certain rules, leave the private property if you behave inappropriately, or make an arrest if you refuse to stop the problematic behavior.

A security guard can deny entry to a building or ask you to leave on behalf of the owner. If you refuse to leave, a security guard is allowed to use reasonable force to remove you from the property.

If a security guard detains you under suspicion that you have shoplifted or damaged property, they are allowed to detain you until the police arrive (as long as this is a reasonable time). A “reasonable time” means that a security guard must not unnecessarily delay calling the police and detain you longer without any reason.

A security guard can ask you to show your ID and can grant or deny entry depending on that (on behalf of the employer). To learn more about security guards and our security guard services, contact us.

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