U.S. Contract Security Guard Industry: an Introduction to Services and Firms [August 13, 2004] [open pdf - 81KB]
Private security guards have long supplemented public law enforcement in the United States; however they face new requirements since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission report has noted: "homeland security and national preparedness ... often begins with the private sector." The use of contract guards for public security raises policy issues related to capabilities, oversight, and cost- effectiveness. To assist Congress in addressing these issues, this report provides background information concerning the contract guard industry. In its terrorism alert of August 1, 2004, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed that surveillance by terrorists included the deployment, armament, and activity of private guards at key financial institutions. This alert demonstrated that, in addition to their traditional roles, private security guards could be the first line of defense against future terrorist attacks in the United States. This report will not be updated.
CRS Report for Congress, RL32523