Houston’s Oak Forest Homeowners Association is discussing hiring off-duty sheriff’s deputies to patrol their neighborhood.
There’s an obvious and historic conflict-of-interest in hiring off-duty cops to perform the exact same duties in the exact same neighborhoods that they patrol during on-duty hours. And over the years there’ve been plenty of scandals involving off-duty police work.
Additionally, hiring police officers will not give the Oak Forest HOA immunity from any lawsuits in lawsuit-happy Texas. In fact, it may even be even more tempting for the litigious to sue for excessive force or other alleged ‘bad cop’ behavior. They get to sue the cop, AND the police department, AND city/county government, AND the HOA. Each entity has insurance to ‘buy off’ the lawsuit. Nice!
That being said, it would sure be comforting to know that someone providing neighborhood security was a real professional and not a private HOA security guard who suddenly finds himself being given police powers. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled recently that private HOA guards have the power to ‘arrest’ motorists. In other parts of the country, private security guards pull over speeding motorists and order them to write a check to the local HOA. How absolutely scary! In one Colorado HOA, security guards even use a police radar gun to ‘arrest’ and ‘fine’ speeders.
Given a choice, I’d sure be tempted to hire the professionals.