SALT LAKE CITY -- A historic agency associated with creating the private detective as well as breaking union strikes is opening its first Utah office.
Pinkerton is now operating as a risk management agency, offering security consulting, executive protection and other services, and they are opening their first Utah office in Salt Lake City.
Founded in 1850 by Scottish immigrant Allan Pinkerton, The Pinkerton National Detective Agency served as Abraham Lincoln's personal security detail during the Civil War. Pinkerton pioneered practices that included the forerunner to the U.S. Secret Service.
“There’s no question that between the Civil War and World War II, virtually everyone in America knew about the Pinkerton agency,” said Matthew Basso, who is a professor of history and gender studies at the University of Utah.
Basso said the agency also became involved with railroads and mines and dealings with unions.
“They became infamous, if you will, because they were the mainstays for corporations seeking to break unions,” Basso said.
The U.S. government began cracking down on anti-union activities in the 1930s, and since that time the company has evolved to offer risk management services, like security consulting and investigation.
Jack Zahran, President of Pinkerton, said the new office in Utah is part of their effort to serve the communities they grew up in.
“We have strong operators on the ground that have grown up in the area, that have lived in the community, and are connected to the organizations we are serving,” he said.
He said some parts of the company’s past may be the target of opposition, but he said that’s not who they are today.
“We are a company committed to doing the right thing,” he said. “We try to be a company with a heart. And when you operate that in the current period, we find that you don't get opposition.”
The company has more than 30 offices in the United States, and the new Salt Lake City office is located near 40th South and 700 East.