Just a few years ago, police departments looked down on security officers and security monitoring firms complained that law enforcement in certain cities was taking over home and business alarm monitoring.

What a difference a recession makes.

In Chicago, just days ago, Mayor Richard Daley supported a City Council proposal to allow private armed security officers to write tickets. It may just be a move to pressure the police union to soften their 2-year contract talks.

Ticketing people for graffiti, parking violations and other minor infractions could free Chicago officers to concentrate on combating violent crime. The move could also generate revenue for the city while enforcing minor ordinances.

Recently Chicago sold its parking meter operation, including parking tickets, to a third-party business.

There are dangers, of course.

In New Mexico, just days ago, a state District Court jury gave $10.2 million in damages against Prestige Security after one of their officers failed to call 9-1-1 after witnessing a stabbing.