Flickr user Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It. World Tour, under a Creative Commons license

A Minnesota town hires a private security firm to handle its police work

Fighting crime is expensive. And if you’re a small town with diminishing resources, the price of public safety can often be a heavy but necessary burden. One small town in Minnesota is attempting to slash its costs by outsourcing their police work to a private security firm.

KARE-TV reports that the town of Foley, about 60 miles outside of Minneapolis, has handed over its police work to General Security Services Corporation, a private security provider that serves private homes, companies, commercial areas and government buildings. Full-time patrols will begin in January.

The town of about 2,600 had previously been relying on sheriff’s deputies from Benton County, who would patrol the city for 17.1 hours a day at a monthly cost of about $23,000 a month. The new deal with General Security Services will cost $98,500 for six months, or about $7,000 less per month than the cost of the sheriff’s deputies.

Private policing is increasingly common in cities across the U.S., though it’s typically only used for a portion of a city’s public safety needs. It’s a trend that’s growing in cities much larger than Foley. Oakland, California, for example, hired a number of private security guards to patrol a crime-ridden part of town in 2009. They got four private guards for less than the price of one police officer.

But along with those savings come reduced services. Foley's private security guards will be able to patrol areas and make citizen arrests, but can’t investigate crimes or perform traffic stops. That trade-off could be great for the city’s budget, but there’s also the possibility that the cost of crime outweighs the cost of savings.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    An App For Democratizing Street Design

    So far, tech companies have been determining how driverless cars will fit into the grid. ReStreet invites you to weigh in.

  2. POV

    Why the Future Looks Like Pittsburgh

    The city’s rise as a global innovation city reflects decades of investment in emerging technology, a new Brookings report says.

  3. Life

    The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing

    One hundred years ago, a retail giant that shipped millions of products by mail moved swiftly into the brick-and-mortar business, changing it forever. Is that happening again?

  4. Solutions

    America's Loneliest Town Is Searching for a Match

    It's four hours to the nearest airport, three hours to Walmart, and there's no high-speed internet. But this tiny mining town is still determined to join the 21st century.

  5. Life

    Where New York City Is Going Next

    In part two of our interview with Dan Doctoroff, the former deputy mayor of economic development and current CEO of Sidewalk Labs shares his thoughts on zoning, transportation, technology, and President Trump.