Started In 1850, This Was Once The Largest Private Law Enforcement Organization In The World (#GotBitcoin?)
Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, formed in the 1800s to help law enforcement track down criminals, once sparred with the outlaw Jesse James. Started In 1850, This Was Once The Largest Private Law Enforcement Organization In The World (#GotBitcoin?)
It later became entangled in the notorious labor disputes of industrial America.
Pinkerton Detectives Still Exist, and They’re Tired of Being the Bad Guys
The security agents, who gained fame as Old West law enforcers, are still around—and they’re not happy about being antagonists in ‘Red Dead Redemption II’
In the hit videogame “Red Dead Redemption II,” players belong to a gang of bandits in the Old West in 1899 who spend a good deal of time offing Pinkerton agents, known simply as Pinkertons.
The plot twist comes in real life: Pinkerton still exists today as Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations Inc., a specialist in corporate security and risk management—and it’s tired of being the bad guy.
Pinkerton, now owned by the Swedish security firm Securitas AB, hoped a letter sent last month to Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. would persuade the game publisher to do right by the Pinkerton name. The letter included a demand for compensation in the form of a lump sum or “an appreciable percentage of each game sold.”
“When you read on Twitter that the best part of the game is to murder a bloody Pinkerton, it becomes a concern,” said Jack Zahran, Pinkerton’s president.
Take-Two was ready for a duel. It filed suit on Jan. 11 in New York district court, alleging Pinkerton made unfounded legal threats against it. Pinkerton “cannot use trademark law to own the past,” Take-Two said in its complaint. It said it strove to be historically accurate in the game, which was released on Oct. 26 and generated sales of $725 million its opening weekend.
Take-Two declined to comment on its suit.
The game opens with the gang looking to make a final score before leaving behind crime once and for all. After their plans go awry, they are chased by Pinkerton agents, mercenaries and law enforcement.
Valentina Rodgers, an 18-year-old call-center worker in Chandler, Ariz., wrote on Twitter that it was “very cool” the game made Pinkerton agents the “scummiest pigs at the disposal of the US government c. 1899, as they were in real life.”
“We’re the good guys,” said Mr. Zahran.
Andrew Hall, a college student in Winter Haven, Fla., said he thought Pinkerton had already died out, “maybe in like the ’30s.” Since getting “Red Dead II” for Christmas, he estimates he’s done away with dozens of digital Pinkerton agents with gunshots and explosives.
“Throughout history, they were really brutal, even to people who weren’t outlaws,” the 20-year-old said, conceding he boned up on the agency by reading Wikipedia and other websites after he learned about the lawsuit.
Pinkerton traces its roots to 1842, when it was created by Allan Pinkerton, Chicago’s first police detective. According to the company’s biography, it invented the mug shot, disbanded Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, and foiled a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
The firm is also associated with violent turn-of-the-century labor disputes, including accusations its agents physically harmed union demonstrators and striking workers. Congress passed a law in 1892—the “Anti-Pinkerton Act”—limiting the U.S. government’s ability to hire mercenaries.
Pinkerton acknowledges its controversial past. Today, the company is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and prides itself as protector of powerful executives, star athletes, royal families and other high-profile individuals. The company, which said it has roughly 2,500 employees, with thousands more world-wide when counting contractors, doesn’t disclose client names.
“The organization has been a paradox,” said Stephen Paul O’Hara, a history professor at Xavier University and author of the 2016 book “Inventing the Pinkertons; or, Spies, Sleuths, Mercenaries, and Thugs.” Although it has wanted to be portrayed as providing law and order, he said, “from dime novels to political commentary, they could never fully control how people thought of them.”
Steven Tifft, 33, said he was thrilled to tangle with Pinkerton foes in “Red Dead II,” especially since he belongs to the Industrial Workers of the World, an international labor union founded in 1905 in Chicago. “They always attack you” in the game, said Mr. Tifft, an Olympia, Wash., stay-at-home dad.
Pop culture has long been fascinated with the Pinkerton story. After a deadly clash between striking steelworkers and Pinkertons in 1892, the confrontation was memorialized in the song “Father Was Killed by the Pinkerton Men.” Modern references to the company show up in Take-Two’s “BioShock Infinite” videogame and on HBO’s “Deadwood.”
Pinkerton in 1996 sued members of the alternative-rock band Weezer and its then-producer, Geffen Records, to prevent them from releasing the group’s second album, called “Pinkerton.” It cited trademark infringement. A spokesman for the band said at the time that the name was a reference to the lead character in the Puccini opera “Madama Butterfly.” The suit was eventually dismissed. A spokeswoman for Weezer declined to comment.
The videogame industry has faced previous disputes with entertainers, athletes and others over the alleged use of their likenesses.
The actress Lindsay Lohan sued Take-Two in 2014 claiming the company exploited hers in its crime drama “Grand Theft Auto V.” A judge tossed out the case. In a pending case, AM General LLC, maker of the hulking Humvee, sued Activision Blizzard Inc. for allegedly including its trademarked vehicles in “Call of Duty” games. More recently, a number of celebrities sued Epic Games Inc., accusing it of appropriating their dance moves without permission in the popular game “Fortnite.”
Pinkerton denies being on the wrong side of the law in “Red Dead II,” where it claims its agents are portrayed as vicious killers with no regard for the safety of women and children.
“You can’t rewrite history to profit,” Mr. Zahran said.
If people aren’t aware the company exists today, he added, it is a testament to how it operates. “We’re a behind-the-scenes organization. We don’t seek the limelight,” he said.
These Are A Few Examples Of Where We’ve Used Contracted Policing Services In The Past. Competition Usually Results In More Efficiencies And Less Complacency Amongst Incumbents:
* The 1975–1977 Oro Valley, Arizona-Rural/Metro contract.
* The 1980 Reminderville, Ohio-Corporate Security contract.
* The 1976 Indian Springs, Florida-Guardsmark contract.
* The 1976 Buffalo Creek, West Virginia-Guardsmark contract.
They can be officers who contract with various firms to patrol the area, as in the case of the San Francisco Patrol Specials.
A specific type of private police is company police, such as the specialized railroad police or mall security.
Also, private police were in used in the Kalamazoo, Michigan-Charles Services contract, which lasted 3½ years.
Private police services are sometimes called “Subscription-Based Patrol.”
Canadian Security Company GardaWorld Offers £3 Billion To Buy U.K.-Listed Rival G4S
Shares in G4S soared almost 25% on Monday, after Canadian rival GardaWorld said it had offered almost £3 billion ($3.87 billion) to take control of the U.K.-listed security firm and pressed G4S investors to back the proposed bid.
Montreal-based GardaWorld said it had offered to pay 190 pence a share in cash for G4S on Aug. 31, but that its attempts to engage with G4S’s board have now been “summarily dismissed or ignored on three occasions.”
“G4S needs an owner, not a manager. GardaWorld has 25 years of experience in the sector and we know how to improve and repurpose this business,” said Stephan Crétier, founder and chief executive officer of GardaWorld.
Paving the way for a hostile bid, he added: “Consequently, GardaWorld now encourages G4S’s shareholders to mandate their board’s engagement in collaborative discussions towards a transaction that would be of clear and immediate benefit to G4S’s shareholders, customers, employees and members of the company’s pension schemes.”
The offer represents a premium of 32% to G4S’ closing share price of 144 pence on Aug. 28, and a premium of 86% to the closing share price on Jun. 12, the trading day prior to its first approach on Jun. 15, GardaWorld said.
“Given the starting price, the chequered past/management credibility, and the fact that many shareholders are long-suffering, we are very surprised that G4S hasn’t engaged with GardaWorld and would expect now to see pressure from shareholders to do so,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets said in a research note to clients.
They said that if the starting bid could be raised to 210/215p, there would be a reasonable chance of a deal, but cautioned that this could potentially trigger other bid interest to emerge. “We would not be selling the stock yet,” the analysts wrote.
Read:G4S scraps dividend as adjusted profit drops
In a letter to G4S chairman John Connolly, Crétier and private equity group BC Partners chairman Raymond Svider said: “This is an offer that your board should not ignore. This is an offer that we believe your shareholders would consider very seriously. It is definite, certain, in cash and fully financed.”
BC Partners bought a 51% stake in GardaWorld, which provides armored cars, cash-handling services and automated teller machine maintenance, in 2019.
GardaWorld said the deal would be financed by cash from BC Partners, while three banks—Barclays BARC, , Bank of America and UBS, have already received the necessary internal approvals to underwrite debt financing for the deal.
G4S has not yet responded to the statement by Garda.
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