Biography of Allan Pinkerton
At the age of 35, Allan Pinkerton worked for the Chicago, Cook County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy. In addition Mr. Pinkerton was contracted with the federal government to investigate numerous fraudulent and criminal activities, such as counterfeiting, protecting the post office from robbery, and special operation assignments that involved detective work. In 1855 six Midwestern railroad representatives contacted Pinkerton offering him 10 thousand dollars for his professional service to organize and develop a special police unit specifically for protecting the railroad investment. Later this special police unit became known as the “North West Police Agency” (Bio True Story, 2008).
During this time public law enforcement officials were having a great deal of trouble maintaining a secure-safe level of order and peace throughout most of the communities due to the increasing crime rates. Public law enforcements inability to protect and serve brought a great deal of negative attention and scrutiny upon most police departments. In return, this labeled law enforcement as an ineffective-inadequate means of protection. The failure of the police was the leading factor that gave Pinkerton the ideology to establish a private security business that would be capable of handling certain situations the public law enforcement had previously failed at.
In 1850 Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and contracted with a variety of businesses and employed a group of individuals that were assigned to work the night shift as night watchmen to protect these businesses. The group was known as the “Pinkerton Protective Patrol”. This was the start of Pinkerton’s security business. Part of Pinkerton’s plan was to document any criminal offence, liabilities and security issues that may exist and report the matters to the business owners and law enforcement agencies (Profile on Allan Pinkerton, 2008).
In 1861, Mr. Pinkerton was working a railroad investigation and discovered an assassination plot that was to transpire against Abraham Lincoln while attending an inauguration. Pinkerton forewarned Abraham Lincoln and his coworkers in regard to the threat and Mr. Lincolns schedule was immediately changed (Hoh, 2005).
In 1873 Pinkerton’s security company was sued for supposedly intimidating the wife of a mail robber. Moreover, Pinkerton’s hired security officers were said to have violated individual’s constitutional rights, were accused of entrapment, and implemented on many occasions over the years numerous illegal violations in order to apprehend wrongdoers. A historical incident that occurred was when one of Pinkerton’s detectives gained access to the Molly Maguire’s, an assembly of minors who were thought to have been involved with murdering and intimidating mine owners.
In July 1892 the Pinkerton’s were hired once again to take action against a strike in Homestead by means of a boat. As the Pinkerton’s approached the shoreline, the strikers began to intimidate the Pinkerton’s with the use of weapons which in return, forced the Pinkerton’s to open fire on the strikers with rifles. A total of 12 men were killed due to this incident and the Pinkerton’s finally surrendered. This behavior had placed a serious burden on the Pinkerton business and private security agencies in general.
After Pinkerton’s death, his sons continued on with the business due to the increase in developing businesses throughout the United States. Law enforcement once again found they were unable to deal with the high volume of ongoing property crimes, and the demand for private security was prominent. Moreover, the new approach to the way security was to be handle was to remove detection and focus on preventative measures. As a result of labor riots, corporate leaders, CEO’s, and politicians relied on private security officers for protection. In modern day, with our growing population and ethnic-cultural diversity, private security, public security and the military can be found working hand-in-hand.
Bio True Story. (2008). Allan Pinkerton Biography. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9441102
Hoh, J. (2005). Allan Pinkerton and his Secret Role in the Underground Railroad. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://www.ask.com/bar?q=Allen+Pinkerton&page=1&qsrc=0&ab=3&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.suite101.com%2Farticle.cfm%2Fthe_underground_railroad%2F114256
Profile on Allan Pinkerton. (2008). The Father of the American Private Investigator. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://www.pimall.com/nais/n.pink.html