Biography of Allan Pinkerton Allan Pinkerton is best known for the founding of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He is viewed as an innovative pioneer and leader in the criminal investigation field and is credited for his valuable contributions to law enforcement and private security practices. (Hunt, 2009) Pinkerton was not always a detective; he started his life in America as a cooper. A turn of events caused him to begin a career in security. One day as he was looking for wood he saw a group of people he believed were doing something illegal.
He went and got the Sheriff, who then arrested the group of men, who turned out to be counterfeiters. (Hunt, 2009) After this event, a group of businessmen approached Pinkerton and wanted him to investigate a man whom they believed was a counterfeiter. (Hunt, 2009) After the arrest and conviction of the individual he was investigating, Pinkerton was offered a part-time position as deputy sheriff. (Hunt, 2009) In 1849, Pinkerton became the first detective in the Chicago Police Department and then quit a year later.
Hunt, 2009) Pinkerton then became a special mail agent investigating thefts of checks and money orders. In 1850, he created his own agency, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. (Hunt, 2009)
The Pinkerton Agency was set up in downtown Chicago and originally employed five detectives. The agency eventually flourished and focused on a territory that included: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. (Answers, 2010) In its early years, its chief area of expertise was the investigation of train robberies, but they also worked on cases involving forgery, counterfeiting, and murder.
Answers, 2010) In 1858, Pinkerton formed the Pinkerton Protective Patrol, a group of night watchmen and contracted with various businesses to offer night protection. (Clifford, 2004) During the Civil War, Pinkerton and his agency assumed a number of roles in the union cause, one of which involved operatives to travel undercover in the South to investigate reports of espionage and conspiracy. (Answers, 2010) After the war, Pinkerton faced a new enemy, wiretapping.
The Pinkerton Agency was helpful in dissolving bands of wire tappers and prompted Congress to enact laws protecting the wire services as a public utility. (Answers, 2010) Another group the agency investigated was the Molly Maguires. One of Pinkerton’s operatives infiltrated the group for three years and reported its activities and plans for violent raids and demonstrations. (Answers, 2010) In the late 1870s many of the group’s leaders were convicted in court of murder and arson. (Answers, 2010)
Pinkerton is viewed as a leader in the criminal investigation field. Pinkerton’s Agency had a major impact on law enforcement and the private security industry. The agency set the standards that eventually evolved to comply with the changing times. The agency started off securing goods such as trains and eventually went into investigation of individuals or groups. As the years went by and major events took place, such as the World Wars and the attack on September 11, 2001, the need for law enforcement and security expanded.
References Answers. com. (2010) Pinkerton Inc. Retrieved October 23, 2010 from
Identifying and Exploring Security Essentials. A History of Private Security. Prentice-Hall. Pearson Education, Inc. Hunt, R.. (2009). Allan Pinkerton: America’s First Private Eye (1819-1884). Forensic Examiner, 18(4), 42-46. Retrieved October 23, 2010, from Criminal Justice Periodicals. (Document ID: 2045086991).