Small MN Town Privatizes its Police Force

Adrian Moore @ Reason writes: > Small MN Town Privatizes its Police Force:

“Foley, MN has privatized its police.
Yesterday, wearing uniforms and carrying sidearms, security guards began doing 24-hour patrols every day of the week on the shady streets of Foley, a community of 2,600 surrounded by farmland, northeast of St. Cloud.
The cost-saving move has triggered worry among some that town leaders may have gone too far, taking some life-or-death responsibilities out of the hands of those with the legal authority to enforce the law.
“It’s a social experiment and it’s polarizing,” said Steve Olson, a Foley Town Council member who called the deal “the best we could do with the resources we’ve got.””

I am not clear on the moral or significant practical difference between a town hiring a bunch of private individuals who join a guild or union to police streets from a town hiring a firm comprised of a bunch of private individuals (who may or may not also be unionized) to police streets. It seems just a very slightly different formulation of the contracting process, with one situation involving the town in a lot of micro transactions (directly employing police officers) and the other involving the town in one contract with an organization that engages in a lot of micro transactions. Yet it is unusual, and thus is an experiment worth watching closely to see if it results in lower/higher costs or better/worse safety.
[I had to look up Foley on the map].