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Private Security and the Public Interest.

Private Security and the Public Interest

Author: Jay S. Albanese One of the many questions the cover of this book asks is, "What do private investigators really do?" Unfortunately, the book does not correctly answer this or any of its questions. I have wrestled with the problem of trying to find something good to say about Private Security and the Public Interest; however, I am unable to do so. The reading is dry and boring.

Private Security and the Public Interest is written in a style intended for the college classroom. The author, Jay S. Albanese, apparently planned for this book to become a college text. Indeed, requiring someone to purchase this book would be the only way he or she would do so.

Throughout the book the author proves he has been hidden in academia and shielded from the real world of private security. Numerous legal citations throughout have little or no direct implications to the examples given.

For example, the author used the term surveillance as a heading to lead into a lengthy discussion of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The discussion then centers largely on wiretapping and eavesdropping--forgetting completely about the main point of surveillance.

More importantly, the book leaves the reader confused as to the author's understanding or loyalty to the private sector. Almost all his legal citations and examples are related to the public sector and have little or nothing to do with private security. Albanese also sheds a negative light on the private security industry with statements such as, "The private sector continues to make use of electronic surveillance (wiretaps, etc.) in spite of a threat of legal penalties." And, "The most common noncriminal matter investigated by private security is suspected adultery."

While talking about civil liability and false arrest, the author states, "A civil suit for a false arrest is among the most common problems in private security, although it extends to police as well." He then goes into great detail examining a civil suit against the state of New York for actions by the state police. The author again shows he has no actual experience in the private security field to base any of his statements. The reader is almost made to feel that the examples were written by a different person other than the person who wrote the opening statements since very few of them appear to have anything to do with each other.

Another example of the author's lack of understanding of the private security industry can be seen in his coverage of undercover investigations. He gives two sentences to the subject--one of which is ridiculous. He states, "Such an individual (undercover investigator) can cover a great deal about theft methods within a month or two, depending on the nature of the business, and determine whether the problem is primarily shoplifting or employee theft." It is obvious the author does not have any such experience.

Albanese provides a list of reference books and numerous references to those books throughout this text. Yet, his research material dates back to 1957, and his most widely used references are a decade old. It should be noted while 1989 is the copyright year of the book, his section on the polygraph does not even mention the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988.

I am still unsure as to who would be the book's audience, but I would not recommend this book to anyone other than someone with insomnia.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Zeldin, David E.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 1989
Words:582
Previous Article:Electronic Security Systems, 2d ed.
Next Article:Split-second security.
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