What’s New with Pinkerton2013-08-28T16:43:34-04:00

By: Matthew Kerr
July 2000Reprint Protection Officer News - Summer 2001

Pinkerton, a name familiar to almost anyone today. Allan Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850. It started by investigating counterfeiting and eventually progressed into railroad security, banks, brokerage houses and courier shops. By staying on the edge of technology and the times they still manage to grow and expand today. Through this dedication to the security industry they have provided and outstanding service to the people of this world.

Starting in 1850 with Allan Pinkerton, an immigrant from Scotland, Pinkerton National Detective Agency was formed. (Britanica, 96) It started after Allan Pinkerton who was a cooper at the time was out cutting wood on a deserted island that he accidentally discovered a band of counterfeiters' camp headquarters. After pursuing the matter he was able to round up the gang of counterfeiters, as a result of his success he was appointed a deputy sheriff and eventually achieved the rank of Chicago’s first police detective. It was at this time he started the Pinkertons. Since counterfeiting was a big problem in society at the time and he began by investigating these crimes. Becoming more popular he branched out into providing security for the railroads, banks, brokerage houses and courier services. After coming across a plan to assassinate President Lincoln, know as the Baltimore Plot, he moved into using his detectives to pose as corps in the military to learn southern plans. Pinkerton also used men for fugitive hunts and is give credit for hunting down Jesse the James an outlaw in the west, the Younger and Dalton gangs, and the Wild Bunch.

Pinkerton’s management was very militaristic. He wanted to achieve an origination that was very structured and centrally organized. ( Nalla & Newman, 90) His decisions where made from a head office and reports by his officers on a daily basis were mandatory. He was also the first to impose hourly rates for the officer instead of charging a flat rate for the job. When special assignments came up he was upfront with clients and said his operatives would receive hourly rates until the job was completed. He commanded loyalty of officers to the company and their country. Pinkerton’s careful and precise record keeping is most likely where the FBI developed their system of keeping files on individuals. The Pinkertons keep files of suspects to be used as an identification system. They had rap sheets, a good physical description and mug shots of individuals. This aided greatly in the tracking down of criminals.

Today the Pinkerton is still on the cutting edge of the security world. They have 47,000 plus employees worldwide. Approximately 82% of the fortune 1000 companies use Pinkerton. Some of these companies include GM, Compaq Computers, Procter and Gamble, Whirlpool, IBM, Intel, GE, etc. They are still one of the biggest security provides in the world.

The services provided today are as follows:


Then 1850

  1. Counterfeit investigations
  2. railroad security
  3. bank security
  4. brokerage house security
  5. courier service

Now: 1999

  1. contract security
  2. patrol services
  3. alarm response teams
  4. background investigation
  5. fraud investigation
  6. claims investigation surveillance
  7. other undercover jobs
  8. personal protection
  9. asset searches


They are very professional and work confidentially utilizing the best men and technology they can offer.

The Pinkertons have strong requirements for employees and are constantly training them. Today, in order to work for Pinkerton, a person must be at least 18, have a high school diploma (or GED), posses good communication skills, pass a drug test, hold no felony convictions, pass a personality assessment and interview, and finally show proof of right to work in the U.S. In their extensive training program emergency procedures, patrol techniques, first aid, fire prevention and control, report writing, safety, and client relations are all taught. After this the officer would be ready for assignment. (About Pink., 89) However, training still will continue as the field advances and changes occur. An officer may go through the ACT 1 Program (Advanced Certification Training) and from that point on they may apply for higher-ranking jobs with the agency. (About Pink.) When it comes to hiring their investigative staff it gets a little more difficult. One must go through a very in-depth screening and then go through a six-month apprenticeship. They must also attend the Pinkerton Investigation Academy. The curriculum that is taught there was developed by former FBI agents and is regarded as being an excellent program. Twelve-hour days of training then become a strong reality for all of those who choose to undertake this challenge. In their investigative staff they have agents that have come from many backgrounds. Such as: FBI, Secret Service, New Scotland Yard, Hong Kong Police, other private security companies and those that have experience in law, accounting, and finance.

The Pinkertons also have many employees who are trained in certain areas that will guest speak on certain topics. These topics include (but are not limited to):

  1. work place violence
  2. industrial espionage
  3. fraud and work place investigations
  4. evacuation and contingency plans and many other topics as well

The Pinkertons were on top of the market in the 1800’s and still today they offer services of all kinds and still lead the market in private security. At the rate they are growing and expanding and by the quality and expertise of the services they provide they should have no problem reaching their goal of becoming the single source of security services.