“Special Police”? Says who?

While others may worry about red light cameras, I worry more about the myriad police forces roaming the city with real, live officers thinking they’re important. Case in point is the “Special Police” I photographed yesterday on K Street.

Anyone recognize this “Special Police” force? I see no markings signifying agency or government. No blue lights even, though I did see yellow lights on the dash.

Before you say “rent-a-cop” since when did paid security companies get to use the word “police”. No this makes me think there is anew (and redundant) Sheriff in town.

Any clue with whom or why?

7 Comments so far

  1. Stacey (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 9:36 am

    I’m pretty sure it is a rent-a-cop type thing. Seems like Special Police Officer (SPO) has a “certificate” or “degree” that is really a security gaurd (this is from a job board):

    “Applicant must be able to obtain and maintain Special Police Officer (SPO) status through the District of Columbia , to include meeting and maintaining the prescribed requirements and qualifications associated with SPO status, pursuant with the Eligibility Requirements for Campus and University Special Police Officers as defined by the MPD Security Officer’s Management Branch (SOMB) Policy Manual.”

    That being said, I’m not cool, like you said, with being able to use the police word for security employees.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 10:17 am

    There are a ton of different forces in this town. US Treasury Police. BEP Police. Secret Service Uniformed Division. The just goes on and on and on. But yes, I’ve got an issue with anyone who’s not employed by a government security organization being called “Police.”

  3. wayan (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 10:20 am

    I just called around the DC Government and 311 tells me that yes, security guards who carry guns are considered Special Police Officers (SPO’s).

    The 311 operator was surprised about a “Special Police” car though and said the next time I see one I should call the real police to check it out.

  4. wayan (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    Whaddya know, there are all kinds of private secutiry folks allowable in DC.

    Publication: General Order 308.07
    Effective Date: Septemeber 28, 1993

    3. The term “special police officer,” is any person who is commissioned pursuant to the provisions of D.C. Code, § 4-114 (1981) and other regulations which have been approved pursuant to this act, and who may be authorized to carry a weapon.

    D. Special Police Officers.

    1. Special police officers are privately commissioned police officers with full arrest powers within an area or premises which the officer has been employed to protect. The commission is conditional and is required to be renewed each year.

    2. Special police officers may be appointed by the Mayor for duty in connection with the property of or under the charge of a corporation or individual requesting the appointment. Special police officers shall be strictly confined in their authority to the particular place or property which they are commissioned to protect.

    3. Commissions issued to special police officers shall specify the following:

    a. The particular place or property they are commissioned to protect (this information is normally kept in the form of a contract list which is available for inspection at the Security Officers Manage­ment Branch);

    b. Any waiver of the uniform requirement;

    c. Firearm authorization status; and

    d. In the case of DCMR Title 6-A, Chapter 11, Section 1101.2, any requirement for storage or special provisions for transportation of firearms or other dangerous weapons.

    4. Special police officers are normally in uniform as required by DCMR Title 6-A, Chapter 11, Section 1109, however, upon request a uniform waiver may be granted.

    5. Special police officers may be authorized to bear firearms, however, they must meet additional requirements which includes completing an annual firearms training course.

    6. The holder of a special police officer’s commission is not authorized to take police action on public space, except when in fresh pursuit from an authorized location. The holder of a special police officer’s commission may not take police action on private property, unless their employing agency has contracted with the owner of the private property to render security related services. Violations may result in the revocation of both the agency’s license and special police officer’s commission.

    7. Special police officers are explicitly prohibited from engaging in roving patrols on public space. However, officers may travel upon public space to get from one job site to another and the most direct route must be taken. Any deviations of armed special police officers traveling between job sites may subject the officer to arrest for firearms violations and the revocation of their commission.

    8. No person shall be appointed as a special police officer pursuant to D.C. Code §4- 114, and DCMR Title 6-A, Chapter 11, unless they meet the following require­ments:

    a. Have reached the age of twenty-one (21) years;
    b. Be a citizen of the United States;
    c. Be of good moral character;
    d. Be approved for appointment by the Chief of Police.

  5. Badge #71 (unregistered) on April 9th, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

    He did’t post that Campus and University commissioned police officers are mandated to attend Campus Law Enforcement Academy, which all Campus & University belong too and must pass.

    And we all use the words Police Dept. And our commissiones are for two years not one, and we also get Federal training too. Police Officers-Campus Special Police

    College and University Campus Security Amendment Act of 1995 DC Law 11-63 DC Act 11-120

  6. Ernest Higginbotham (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

    I have reviewed the College and University Campus Security Amendment Act of 1995 DC Law 11-63 DC Act 11-120. I have several questions. Are campus police officers considered law enforcement? If they are considered law enforcement do they fall under HR 218?

  7. Badge #71 (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

    To Ernest Higginbotham we are considered law enforcement, But under H.R 218 we are not covered, only one university in dc is under H.R 218 because it is almost a State University the rest of us are private university, this would changed if DC was a state hood, but that something else. I have read the H.R 218 is for employee of a governmental agency. retired officers with 15 years of good service, But there private university in all the states that dont fall under H.R. 218.

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