Private Patrol Operator Log Tips

PPO Test Tip: The Security Log

By Shaun E. Sundahl

Date: Monday May 30, 2011

Recently, I was asked “how much time should a California Private Patrol Operator keep the security log?” On this page I will address the rationale for having a security log and address how long a PPO should keep the log for. To answer the first question we need to define the words “security log”. A security log is that blank form (hopefully not blank at the end of the shift) where the officer makes note of any significant or even “routine” event. Something appearing insignificant or routine can be in fact significant. The following scenario addresses the second issue of the importance of having a log.

The Scenario:

You, the Private Patrol Operator contract with a shopping mall to provide private security services and patrol around the exterior of the property.  Being the forward-looking, Private Patrol Operator that you are, you require your staff to document on the security log each time they finish a tour around the property. For the grave yard shift, you require your officers to conduct lighting inspections in the parking lots.  Each light that is burned out is reported to management.  Let’s say one night; an elderly man is robbed at gun point in the parking lot. He is beat to the floor and his money is taken.

The Lawsuit:

The man files a claim against the property owner and you, the Private Patrol Operator, for negligence.  In his civil complaint, the man (now plaintiff) alleges you the Private Patrol Operator, had a duty to safeguard shoppers from those who rob others.  Had the Private Patrol Operator’s employee been on patrol safeguarding shoppers, the plaintiff would not have been injured. As an agent for the property owner, the Private Patrol Operator’s has a duty to ensure that all known and unknown (to shoppers) dangerous conditions are corrected.    

Saved by the Security Log:

If the plaintiff alleges the Private Patrol Operator knew of conditions such as robberies exist on the property and the Private Patrol Operator failed to take action to prevent injury such as the kind suffered by the plaintiff, the Private Patrol Operator AND the Client will be threading in deep waters.

Now let’s talk about the security log. Since the security log is a business record routinely used to document activities in the Private Patrol Operator’s normal course of business, the court will allow the record into evidence as non hearsay as long as it is relevant. Here, it’s relevant since the security log will show the defendants were not negligent since the Private Patrol Operator’s employees patrol the property every hour and did not know of any dangerous conditions (such as robberies). In fact, the log will show the Private Patrol Operator took an affirmative step to prevent robberies by making note of dark areas in need of light or lights that were just broken.  Here is the log to prove it.

How long does a Private Patrol Operator keep the security log for?

Do we keep it for 10 years? How about 3 years? If we had a 20,000 square foot building, the best answer would be for as long as you are a Private Patrol Operator plus five years later. Since most of us don't have that luxury, a more specific answer is it depends on how long the statutes of limitations are for certain civil codes.

In California, one must bring a lawsuit against another for False Imprisonment within one year (Civ. Proc. §340[c].)  The Private Patrol Operator should be aware of this time limitation since false imprisonment means false arrest. If the employee attempts to apprehend someone and used improper force, the employee, Private Patrol Operator, and the client are liable for a personal injury claim called battery. The time limitation for a lawsuit for a personal injury claim is two years (2 yrs. Civ. Proc. §335.1) Moving forward, let’s say the Private Patrol Operator’s employee is the at-fault party during an on-duty traffic collision with another vehicle.  The other party may file a lawsuit against the Private Patrol Operator within three years since the complaint is property damage (Civ. Proc. §338[b] [c]) The longest statute of limitation is for breach of contract. If the contract was orally made, the plaintiff has two years to file ( Civ. Proc. §339). If the contract was written, the plaintiff has four years to file (Civ. Proc.  §337) Most lawsuits involving Private Patrol Operators probably do not involve breach of contract claims; however this claim is not verified.

Would you like to cite our article under APA guidelines?

Sundahl, S. (2011, May 30). PPO Tip: The Security Log. Retrieved [enter date], from Sundahl & Associates:

**All information presented here is under copyright by Sundahl & Associates, Inc., 2011. You may not reproduce or copy the information contained herein without the express permission of Sundahl & Associates. Shaun Sundahl (CEO) is a professional writer and you may employ his services from time to time. For permission please contact us by phone or e-mail. Thank you.**


 Good luck on the BSIS PPO Test!

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