Generally, employers of private security guards are
vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. This
incentivizes employers to protect against unnecessary risks
to the public and to internalize the social costs of their
business activities. In Georgia, however, this centuries-old
doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply when a
private business hires an off-duty police officer.
Several consequences arise from the current state of the
law: inconsistency in application, unfairness to victims
and imprudent taxpayer subsidization of private
businesses. This Note illustrates that the current law is
both unjust and unwise by contrasting business liability
for police torts with private citizen torts, and by
considering recent cases in which employers escaped
liability for the egregious conduct of their employees.
Although the current law is in need of reform, the
solution is not radical. Following the lead of several other
states and a recent Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
decision, this Note proposes applying the doctrine of
respondeat superior to off-duty officers as a solution that
would wholly eliminate the identified problems.
Giles, Ryan L.
"Publicly Funded Private Security: A Critical Examination of Georgia Law Pertaining to the Private Employment of Off-Duty Police Officers,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 51:
3, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol51/iss3/5