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J D Haas
J D Haas, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 2998
Experience:  23 years as a trial lawyer with experience in criminal law.
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Need some guidance/direction on a Legal ...

Resolved Question:

Need some guidance/direction on a Legal Matter.

I attended a meeting last week with John Tegg who is a candidate for Orange County Sheriff.   During that meeting, one of the other Security Professionals (not Mr. Tegg) stated that, "When a Security Officer is on duty and protecting a Client''s property/interests, that Security Officer has "Police Powers".

He is quoting F.S.S. Statute 843 (Obstructing Justice) specifically subsection 6 which states
"Whoever, being required in the name of the State by any Officer of the F.H.P., police officer, beverage enforcement agent, or watchman, neglects or refuses to assist him or her in the execution of his or her duties etc. etc. etc.

He is also quoting subsection 8 (Falsley Personating Officer) and using the same "watchman"

It is our collective view that this Gent is mis-interpreting the the Statute by referring to the term "watchman" to have an inclusive meaning of a Security Officer.

Where can we go to get clarification on this? Administrative Code maybe? Any Case Law we might be able to refer to? We would like to have something in writing that we can show this Gent he is in error.

Thanks in advance.

Pete Ahern
DVS PRofessional
Security Services
(XXX) XXX-XXXX (Office)
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  J D Haas replied 8 years ago.
Here is statute 843 and (6) and (8):

I have reviewed the statute. The statute merely says that a "watchman" can be guilty of a misdemeanor by failing to assist police when asked. Furthermore, a lay person can be guilty of a misdemeanor by claiming to be a Florida police officer, etc. or a "watchman" (and in this sense a watchman employed by law enforcement or state enforcement only as used in the description) when the person is not.

These statutes do NOT give a private security officer police power. That power would have to come from the state in a statute that says that. This statute says that a "watchman" must help police and that a lay person cannot claim to be a police officer or government enforcement officer without having those credentials. Police power could only be given in a specific statute and these statutes do not transfer that power.

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