Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Before You Start – Learn the Law

with one comment

The most often repeated piece of advice that I give to anyone who wants to volunteer in their neighborhood to promote safety and crime prevention is this, as a normal citizen you do not have any special privileges, rights, or powers, than any other citizen. When you approach a situation, you do so as an equal, without any special authority to infringe or interfere in the rights of another citizen.

Be knowledgeable of the local statutes concerning Citizen’s Arrest, also known as Private Arrest. Each State is different, so it is up to you to learn what is and is not allowed in your location. Private citizens are held accountable and liable for their actions when making a private arrest, so make sure you know what you are doing before you do it.

You must also understand the concept of Use of Force, and how it applies to Citizen’s Arrest in your area.  The use of physical force is clearly defined by the law.  Step outside the boundaries of the law and you will find yourself being charged and arrested.  Knowing the law will not make you hesitate to act in an emergency, it will however give you a clear understanding of your options when you act.

Related Links:’s_arrest


Written by Silver Sentinel

April 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

One Response

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  1. Excellent advice.

    For folks in California, I believe that one of the best opportunities is to take the PC832 Arrest class, taught by and for police, at academies, and open to the public for a nominal fee (I paid only $53). Even if you already know everything in the class, you’ll show due diligence (and potentially save your butt in court because of it) by attending a class at that level.


    April 6, 2013 at 6:31 am

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