3. Technical skills: These are the basic skills you possess that allow you to operate in the
security environment. They include your basic training and management training, and
relate directly to the technical aspects of your job and the jobs of each of those that
you supervise and/or manage.
Liability: What Is It?
Black’s Law Dictionary defines liability as a “broad legal term which has been referred to
as of the most comprehensive significance, including almost every character of hazard or
responsibility, absolute, contingent or likely.” In simpler terms, liability is a legal concept
under which a person (you) may be held responsible by another person, and required to make
good on any losses or damages you may have caused. It is a simple concept that has become
extremely complex due to a large body of conflicting legal decisions. When you couple that
with a society that often seems driven to sue anybody for anything, you can easily see why
any efforts to reduce liability are worthwhile.
Liability is a risk just like other risks, which we face every day. Because it is a risk, it
can be managed by the application of risk management techniques. These techniques include
the following:
1. Recognition: It is important to recognize the various types of liability exposure.
2. Education: Liability can be reduced and minimized if both management and employees
are thoroughly trained in all of the aspects of their jobs and in liability avoidance
3. Supervision: The best educational programs will not be effective in reducing liability if
they are not accompanied by effective supervision.
4. Documentation: Report writing and documentation of facts are a basic part of security
work. Yet, when it comes to incidents where we are exposed to potential liability,
there is often an amazing lack of documentation. We must document all of our
activities in order to reduce our liability exposure. This includes security incidents,
training, and counseling we provide to those we supervise and manage, complaints
we receive, and evaluations we make concerning our employees. Each of these records
must thoroughly and honestly document the facts because someday they may be
important in the defense of a liability case.
Liability exists in two basic forms:
1. Civil liability, in which you may be subjected to a lawsuit for your actions (or for your
failure to act, where necessary) and
2. Criminal liability, in which you may be subjected to potential criminal charges for acts
performed (or not performed where required).
Just to make things more interesting, remember that it is also possible to face both civil
and criminal liabilities at the same time!!
Civil Liability
Civil liability is presented when an act, known as a tort, is committed against another. In
the security field, including investigations, Homeland Security, facility management, loss
prevention, etc., we are generally concerned most frequently with the following torts:
1. Intentional torts: These are torts in which an act occurs and you could have or should
have known that it would likely cause damages. To prove an intentional tort, you
must have the following:
(a) The act
(b) Intention of consequences
(c) Causation (what you did or did not do caused the result)
(d) Damages
Civil Liability 507

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