Quote Originally Posted by Roger Krueger
For me it's always been a very distinct line--cops good, rent-a-thugs very bad.
Generally, I agree.

I worked security for the 1984 Olympics in LA. We had to interface with the police. Let's just say that LAPD didn't make that easy. Let's also say that we are damned lucky that someone didn't try to do anything then, as the LAPD didn't take things seriously.

That said, I remember this from my training. At that time, and in California, security were not allowed to actually do anything but observe and report. Obviously, if there were immediate danger, the security guards can do something. However, they can do what anyone can do. The uniform doesn't give them any additional rights.

Actually, we were warned that if we grab/touch anyone, we could be charged with battery.

So, as far as I can tell, a security guard can talk to you, observe you, call the police and stand in front of your camera.

Now, this is for private security. Someone working for the post office or a government building may have different rules!