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TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT TRAINING FOR PRIVATE OFFICERS

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OK folks, this is gonna be a multi-post article I just reviewed. Before everyone strokes out about this, please READ the entire article, then give me some reasonsable feedback other than blanket "Hell NO" reactions. I don't entirely agree with the whole concept, but it did make for some interesting reading and thinking. - Thanks. Mike L.


TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT TRAINING FOR PRIVATE OFFICERS (part one)


     Many security companies advertise in their yellow page ad that their company provides traffic enforcement services. But the question is do they really and to what extent? Is it legal or illegal? What authority do they really have? Can they issue speeding tickets and other citations? As we discussed a few weeks ago in our training on Scope Of Authority, there are two traditional ways of having police authority which includes issuance of speeding tickets. Those include either being a full or

part time sworn police officer or having “special police, special deputy or statutory authority.

     As we previously discussed, some states including Washington DC, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland and some others have a “SPO”, Special Police Officer status in their statues which allow certain police powers to private security officers.

     If you do not have one of these and still offer traffic enforcement services, can you still really offer this type of service and what options do you have?

     The answer is yes you can and you do have several enforcement routes that you can lawfully take against a traffic violator.

     Conducting any type of traffic enforcement or traffic stops is still controversial for private security officers but increasingly becoming part of a private officers duties.

I am aware of some police agencies that make it tough on security officers making traffic stops by threatening them with arrest for disorderly conduct, harassment, impersonating a police officer and even kidnapping. Don’t let them intimidate you! As long as you act professional, don’t become disorderly, cussing or threatening, you can enforce traffic rules on private property.
.....continued next post.....


     If problems persist with law enforcement, this issue needs to be addressed by the Chief of Security or the client and it needs to go directly to the police chief or sheriff so that they have a clear understanding of what you are doing, how you are doing it and who is doing it. This way the top brass knows that it’s not some guys playing cop and they’ll be more supportive and communicate that info with the filed patrol division.

     As gated communities, universities, large office complexes and other developments are being built to mirror a city and mainly in a private campus environment, it is necessary to enforce traffic violations and let the public know that there are consequences to reckless driving or speeding.

     Under current laws in most states, police officers can not enforce moving violations on most private property or investigate non-injury accidents. Some states do allow for DUI or reckless violations enforcement and a few states have adopted new statues that allow certain other moving violations to be enforced under an agreement or contract with the property owner but overall there is little that police

agencies can do about traffic violations on most private properties.


Too many youngsters get their hands on firearms without proper supervision. Keep your guns secure from ALL unauthorized persons! Lets stop burying children - PLEASE (jal.fast@yahoo.com)

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PART 2....


But before we head out with a ticket book in hand, we need to consider a few things first.

     First, we need to establish a few ground rules. The property that you are planning on enforcing traffic violations on needs to be completely “private property”. It can not be “common area or a city street or an easement area, public domain or anything other than completely “private property”.

     How can you tell if the property falls under one of these? One of the ways that you can determine this is by knowing who owns it? If the road is completely within a

self contained property such as an apartment or condominium complex, park, hospital, college campus or other gated community, it will probably be private and not owned by city or county government.

     Another way to help determine ownership or whether it is a private road or not is to find out who maintains it. When there is a pot hole who fills it? When it snows who plows it? When there’s a wreck on it do the police respond to investigate it? If the answer is that the city doesn’t maintain the road, plow it or respond to its wrecks, than more than likely it is a private road. If it is a limited access road with one way in and one way out it is probably private.

     If you are GPS equipped, punch in the address and it will tell you the status of the road or not show up in the database at all meaning it is a private road.

     Before ever enforcing any rule, policy or law make sure you know without a doubt that the road you are on is definitely privately owned. If there is any other roads leading into the road that you are setting up enforcement on are sure that they also are private roads and I’ll explain why shortly.

     Okay now that you’re sure that everything is on private property you’ll need to insure that you have full written authority from your employer or if you’re a contract agency, from your client. In that document, there should be an outline of exactly what they want you do. Because if it is not spelled out and there is a problem later, the client or owner will come back and say that you had no authority to do the traffic enforcement. Get it in writing!


Too many youngsters get their hands on firearms without proper supervision. Keep your guns secure from ALL unauthorized persons! Lets stop burying children - PLEASE (jal.fast@yahoo.com)

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PART 3....


If you or your security department is completely a non-sworn force, there are some steps that you can take to implement traffic procedures.

     In a residential community, especially an apartment or condominium complex or subdivision, the Management Company or Homeowners Association can post speed limits, erect stop signs and impose fines for violations. They can employ their security staff to enforce these policies and rules. This authority has come long ago when civil courts ruled that the private property owner or their agent has complete rule of their own property. Make sure that the property is properly posted, letters with the new policy has been mailed to homeowners or apartment residents and the general public using the property is aware of the enforcement.

     Although a Uniform Traffic Citation can not be issued, a summons from the HOA or company can be and fines can be paid to the board or association. In some cases when homeowners and condo owners refuse to pay these fines, the association has levied liens against their property for the fines owed.

     In the event that the offender is a non-resident and is visiting a resident, the court has ruled that residents are civilly liable for the behavior of invited guests. Violations can fall on the resident. With a non-resident, a violation notice can be issued with a warning of a criminal trespass for any future violations.

     If the violation is serious in nature and the client or owner of the property has authorized you to, an immediate written criminal trespass warning can be issued and the violator informed that an arrest will be made upon returning to the property.

     When the violation is more serious such as excessive speed, driving reckless, endangering others or driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, this offense may rise to a criminal offense and an arrest may be made. In this case since the officers are non-sworn, a citizen’s arrest may be made and the local law enforcement agency notified for immediate assistance.

     Every stop should be fully documented with a written report and video camera footage for liability purposes. When a driver refuses to cooperate, the local police department should be called for immediate assistance and the driver should be trespassed from the property.


Too many youngsters get their hands on firearms without proper supervision. Keep your guns secure from ALL unauthorized persons! Lets stop burying children - PLEASE (jal.fast@yahoo.com)

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Part 4....


 


Every stop should be fully documented with a written report and video camera footage for liability purposes. When a driver refuses to cooperate, the local police department should be called for immediate assistance and the driver should be trespassed from the property.

     When conducting traffic stops, use a high level of officer safety, call the stop in to your dispatcher, another officer or the answering service and give them the tag numbers of each offender, description of the vehicle, number of occupants and driver description if you can see it. I also usually write the tag info down on a notepad that I keep beside me just in case anything ever happens.

     If you are trying to make a traffic stop and the offender speeds off, DO NOT pursue this vehicle for any reason. Do not chase this vehicle for any reason off from the private property or onto any other ajoining road. This road which turns into a city or county road is completely off limits to you and you have no authority whatsoever there and you are opening up yourself to criminal charges. Get the license plate number and call it in to the police and back off.

     If you choose to pursue this driver and they wreck, hit another vehicle and kill someone, strike a pedestrian or crash and die themselves, you the security officer could be charged with manslaughter, vehicle homicide or other serious felony

charges as well as being held civilly responsible and it will be devastating. The traffic offense isn’t worth the bad things that will happen to you if something goes very wrong. You’re not a police officer and the court will not recognize that they were fleeing because they had committed a prior crime or were in possession of illegal drugs or guns and you will not be “shielded” from criminal and civil consequences.

     Be professional, courteous, don’t argue or cuss and don’t push the authority issue. Use professional, calibrated equipment including radar, professional looking tickets or citations and have your act together. Know when to back off and call for assistance and don’t overstep your authority and boundary. Educate yourself about the criminal statues and civil laws. books and information is available on line as well as at your local library. And the bottom line is to stay safe!

 
Unknown, (2008, July). Traffic Enforcement. Retrieved August 27, 2008, from PrivateOfficer.com Web site: http://www.privateofficer.com/TrafficEnforcement.html


Too many youngsters get their hands on firearms without proper supervision. Keep your guns secure from ALL unauthorized persons! Lets stop burying children - PLEASE (jal.fast@yahoo.com)

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what? no takers?


Too many youngsters get their hands on firearms without proper supervision. Keep your guns secure from ALL unauthorized persons! Lets stop burying children - PLEASE (jal.fast@yahoo.com)

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I agree 300%  Cant pick this apart at all. 

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Sounds good in theory... i see too many Security Officers trying to do things that really SHOULD NOT be done.   If nothing else it would be a way to kill time. 

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HELL NO!


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I can picture this now....somebody NOT stopping for the guard and they go off-site and pursue the guy to his house. If anybody with yellow lights comes to my house....lets just say they'll be having an opening pretty soon for one reason or another.

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I think you covered all the bases very well.  Of course the key here is PRIVATE PROPERTY!  The trick, as always, is training.  Officers not only need to how to do the enforcement duties assigned to them, they must absolutely know their limitations!  You're talking about a higher caliber of officer, too.


The more extensive/complicated the job, the more essential extensive training becomes!


And yes, given the current trends, we are going to see more of this type of security-enforcement operations in the future.  The bar is being raised:  the security field is becoming more complex, more demanding, & more extensive.  I just hope that the industry's hiring & training practices follow along as well.


- gl

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While I agree with a lot of what is said my concern is that most security companies do not train security guards well enough to handle those situations, and then you have the ones who are on a power trip, so they are bound to over step themselves.


 


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Old topic but...


I just have to say this- many cities hire meter-maids that have no arrest power at all. The entire purpose of outsourcing private security officers to enforce traffic regulations is to take the caseload off of local Law Enforcement agencies while simultaneously serving the community. The tickets pay for LEO salaries, schools, and public works (like your garbage men).


Honestly, how is this a bad thing? I, personally, hated being called for "parking problem" calls...if someone ran around writting tickets, it would have freed me up so I could catch speeders (making the roads safer).


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Riot says ...



Old topic but...


I just have to say this- many cities hire meter-maids that have no arrest power at all. The entire purpose of outsourcing private security officers to enforce traffic regulations is to take the caseload off of local Law Enforcement agencies while simultaneously serving the community. The tickets pay for LEO salaries, schools, and public works (like your garbage men).


Honestly, how is this a bad thing? I, personally, hated being called for "parking problem" calls...if someone ran around writting tickets, it would have freed me up so I could catch speeders (making the roads safer).



I guess they have a lot of speeders in the prison?

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Lulusgt says ...



Riot says ...



Old topic but...


I just have to say this- many cities hire meter-maids that have no arrest power at all. The entire purpose of outsourcing private security officers to enforce traffic regulations is to take the caseload off of local Law Enforcement agencies while simultaneously serving the community. The tickets pay for LEO salaries, schools, and public works (like your garbage men).


Honestly, how is this a bad thing? I, personally, hated being called for "parking problem" calls...if someone ran around writting tickets, it would have freed me up so I could catch speeders (making the roads safer).



I guess they have a lot of speeders in the prison?



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Ummmm ok!

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         The Board of Directors in gated community Assoc's. can enforce a speed limit and have SPO's or properly trained  & certified personnel  videotape & document &  issue warnings as well as take plate numbers & write citations for repeat offenders and bill the homeowner.  Note, all vehicles in a manned community are tagged and documented, so whether you're a visitor or resident, they are making it more difficult to get away with it.  Also applies to excessive noise from music and why are these ignoramus' always buying the worst speakers? It is so distorted and repulsive!

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Rate This | Posted over 4 years ago

 

I can see Private Security Officer doing traffic control at events they are patrolling such as concerts, parades, Etc. Here at my University we have Campus Safety Aide who are student workers employed by the Police Department to augment their Patrol Division. They are responsible for reporting suspicious activity and hazardous conditions, checking buildings for door and window violations, providing safety escorts to any destination within the campus, and assisting police officers in non-enforcement activities (i.e., traffic point control). If you think about it they sound almost like security officers. So I think if they can do it so can Security Officers. (with proper training of course)

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HELL NO....I invite a security officer to try and stop me.   Isn't a vehicle stop considered a seizure? Whether or not that person is on Private Property or not.  


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Riot says ...



Old topic but...


I just have to say this- many cities hire meter-maids that have no arrest power at all. The entire purpose of outsourcing private security officers to enforce traffic regulations is to take the caseload off of local Law Enforcement agencies while simultaneously serving the community. The tickets pay for LEO salaries, schools, and public works (like your garbage men).


Honestly, how is this a bad thing? I, personally, hated being called for "parking problem" calls...if someone ran around writting tickets, it would have freed me up so I could catch speeders (making the roads safer).


 


 


OK...but a meter maid is not making a traffic stop.



In Honor of the Fallen.

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There are small towns here where I live that deliberately hire private security officers to outsource their traffic control. Not to mention a security officer can be granted the right to write citations above and byond criminal tresspass on the private property he is hired to protect. Parking enforcement is not trained Law Enforcement.   Now the corallary to this is I also think that private security shouldn't hand out tickets on public roadways that is what LEO's are for. I have to admit that seeing the Fire Marshall or Game department handing out traffic citations (which they CAN do) is hilarious. 

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The article was well written. However, it is very broad. As a LEO and a Private Security Services owner I have some serious issues about security making traffic stops. In an above post someone came close to asking the correct question about a traffic stop. It is not a seizure, but an arrest. Now I know this varies from state to stae such as in PA where Security is hired by municipalities under the "235 act powers" and are able to basically do what real LEO's do.


But, as you mentioned, in VA we have a step in between Municipal LEOs and Security. They are called Special Conservators of the Peace and they are sworn County Law Enforcement Officers with statutory powers of arrest. The "Special Police" title/position has been done away with since 15 September 2004. In VA Armed Security Officers have very limited powers of arrest and the code states (translated) that SO's have arrest powers limited to retail theft. They can also make arrests for tresspassing, but that's about it. Unarmed SO's can watch the event and call the cops.


With SO's getting away with performing traffic stops in certain communities in VA, they are opening themselves up to the same situation "on property" as if they made a stop or pursuit off property and there was an accident or other mishap.


The really bad thing here is that a LOT of the security companies doing traffic stops using armed and / or unarmed security officers is that a LOT of them are taking short cuts basically doing some illegal things. Such as: patrol vehicles registered and (if you're lucky) insured as personal vehicles. Taking their Insurance Certificate, a bottle of white out and heading to the copier, then off to the typewriter. Paying people under the table to avoid Workers Comp Insurance and Liability Insurance premium, not to mention taxes.


Don't believe me then please explain how this works: On company has bid a couple of contracts at $12/hr. My insurance would eat up most of that! I figure that I have roughly $10-$15/hr overhead depending on the site and the level of employee (ASO, USO, SCOP, etc). So for the sake of argument, let's say that my overhead is only $8/hr per officer. He's only paying his people $4 an hour??? I think not. This same company has been known to use USO's on contracts calling for SCOPs.


Now to be fair, while the businesses conductiong business in a less than ethical and less than legal manner bear the lions share of the blame, our governing body doesn't seem to care. This person has a habbit of when one company gets into trouble, transfer the contracts to another company, dissolve the trouble company and start a new one. Supposedly he has been doing this for years. And he keeps on doing business as usual.


At least with the SCOP option, there is some oversight by the Court and the Local PD.


So, good points, but I strongly disagree with Security being allowed to make traffic stops. And when you consider that for the most part the average wage (in VA anyways) for ARMED SO's is less than someone flipping burgers at McDonalds or the clerk at the 7-11! You have to ask yourself why a young person (older is assumed to be retirees especially from law enforcement and wants to stay closer to the community) would want to work for less money. What is their education? What are their carreer goals? Do they have a "Billy Badge" attitude? What is their motivation to work for barely more than minimum rage?

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deputy_dawg_16 says ...



HELL NO....I invite a security officer to try and stop me.   Isn't a vehicle stop considered a seizure? Whether or not that person is on Private Property or not.  



It's not a seizure, nor an arrest.  It's a temporary detainment.  Every sitizen has the right to detain a person or arrest if a crime has occured in their presence.


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Myself, I can see some problems with this. I feel the calls to the police would increase and this would take them away from more important assignments. I am also certain their insurance carrier would be thrilled with this function regarding the potential of civil action. If you detain someone to long it goes from a detainment to an arrest.

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chiefdennis says ...



Myself, I can see some problems with this. I feel the calls to the police would increase and this would take them away from more important assignments. I am also certain their insurance carrier would be thrilled with this function regarding the potential of civil action. If you detain someone to long it goes from a detainment to an arrest.



I agree, over all this article touches on a unique aspect of security. Sadly, I would side on error, most security officers are not trained adequately to handle this task, thus why in my experience as a S/O (with a patrol division) we avoid initiating anything thing remotely close to a T-Stop. We only respond (if theres a "RP" or victim) to accidents or situations were LE has contacted us about a situation developing, but even then we are asked to "check and advise" the seriousness of the situation, not make contact. But as stated in the article ONLY ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.


I think that in bigger cities this article touches on the need to be aware of what a security officer can do, but  in reality should avoid. The temptation, and lack of EVOC, vehicle contact, situational awareness and other training tools that LE uses, makes this an "over zealous" S/O's dream, and ultimately could end in tragedy.....


PS-Thankfully 90% of our patrol division is either active/retired LE or certifiable, so they have been through all the necessary courses. But still we avoid initating any contact in terms of a T-Stop, heavily favor a reactive response on this one.


 

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My view on this is if you are a security offocer on a large reservation or company fascility where you have several miles of roads then yes you have the authority to enforce traffic laws (ON your site). However like all security  officers unless you have been hired by a small town for that purpose then you have no authority to do so off your appointed site.

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bu55c says ...



My view on this is if you are a security offocer on a large reservation or company fascility where you have several miles of roads then yes you have the authority to enforce traffic laws (ON your site). However like all security  officers unless you have been hired by a small town for that purpose then you have no authority to do so off your appointed site.



Traffic enforcement on a privately owned and access controlled facility can range from very basic to fairly involved for security officers.  I work at a chemical plant with heavy commercial traffic, privately owned vehicles and contractor operated equipment of all kinds.  We are tasked by our client to enforce very specific rules for entry, exit, inspection, scaling, offloading, safety compliance, parking and speed enforcement.  All of these are meant to do one thing....make the plant as safe as possible, so any warnings or citations are meant to educate first and always.  The tiny percentage of people who do not recognize the rules are progressively ticketed, documented and eventually denied access to the facility.  Maintaining a professional demeanor and not straying from the specific policies makes our job easier.  Oh yes, we NEVER pursue a violator off plant, but simply ask them to wait to speak with us at the exit gate where all their info is captured electronically for future reference as needed.  If the problem needs LEO involvement we have dispatch call immediately and meet them with our supervisor as needed.


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Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid. - President Ronald Reagan

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sat233238 says ...



bu55c says ...



My view on this is if you are a security offocer on a large reservation or company fascility where you have several miles of roads then yes you have the authority to enforce traffic laws (ON your site). However like all security  officers unless you have been hired by a small town for that purpose then you have no authority to do so off your appointed site.



Traffic enforcement on a privately owned and access controlled facility can range from very basic to fairly involved for security officers.  I work at a chemical plant with heavy commercial traffic, privately owned vehicles and contractor operated equipment of all kinds.  We are tasked by our client to enforce very specific rules for entry, exit, inspection, scaling, offloading, safety compliance, parking and speed enforcement.  All of these are meant to do one thing....make the plant as safe as possible, so any warnings or citations are meant to educate first and always.  The tiny percentage of people who do not recognize the rules are progressively ticketed, documented and eventually denied access to the facility.  Maintaining a professional demeanor and not straying from the specific policies makes our job easier.  Oh yes, we NEVER pursue a violator off plant, but simply ask them to wait to speak with us at the exit gate where all their info is captured electronically for future reference as needed.  If the problem needs LEO involvement we have dispatch call immediately and meet them with our supervisor as needed.



I can definately understand what you are saying. Especially where Department of Transportation laws are in question. And yes I totally agree you never persue a violator off your site for any reason, abandoning your post is a serious offense for any reason.

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bu55c says ...



My view on this is if you are a security offocer on a large reservation or company fascility where you have several miles of roads then yes you have the authority to enforce traffic laws (ON your site). However like all security  officers unless you have been hired by a small town for that purpose then you have no authority to do so off your appointed site.



Dude you are so full of crap.  The state YOU live in does not recognize private security officers as having authority to enforce any laws.  If you are hired by a small town you would have to be a certified law enforement officer and possess a state peace officer certification issued by WACJTC.  You would then technically speaking be a Deputy Marshal (or Marshal) if the municipality was in fact a town.


You have the rest of your life to solve the problem, how long your life lasts depends on how well you do it. -Clint Smith

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Scurge says ...



bu55c says ...



My view on this is if you are a security offocer on a large reservation or company fascility where you have several miles of roads then yes you have the authority to enforce traffic laws (ON your site). However like all security  officers unless you have been hired by a small town for that purpose then you have no authority to do so off your appointed site.



Dude you are so full of crap.  The state YOU live in does not recognize private security officers as having authority to enforce any laws.  If you are hired by a small town you would have to be a certified law enforement officer and possess a state peace officer certification issued by WACJTC.  You would then technically speaking be a Deputy Marshal (or Marshal) if the municipality was in fact a town.



I agree with Scurge.. You are full of it..


Most Security Guards (Officers) observe and report. You can't do much of anything unless it is in your contract or the client says so. It is ultimately up to the client on what they want done.  Usually if you are on a big property all you can do is check the property for anything that is out of the ordinary. Some locations could require that a security company issues "No Parking" tickets if a vehicle is improperly parked. They can also have security sit at a guard shack and monitor vehicles going on or off the property. So basically Security Guards can't enforce traffic laws.. If you have a traffic issue then call the Police. That is what they are for. 


Security are only allowed to have Authority on the property where the contract is. Once you step foot off the property then you are just a regular everyday person. Security has no authority off property.


Now if you are working on a site that deals with the Federal Government such as the DOD or somethign else then things might be different as far as enforcing rules. It just depends on the contract. Most places will not allow you to do traffice enforcement.


Where I work at we can write parking violations and patrol the property. We have an actual City Police Officer that takes care of traffic enforcement and stuff like that.


 


 


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bu55c says ...



There are small towns here where I live that deliberately hire private security officers to outsource their traffic control. Not to mention a security officer can be granted the right to write citations above and byond criminal tresspass on the private property he is hired to protect. Parking enforcement is not trained Law Enforcement.   Now the corallary to this is I also think that private security shouldn't hand out tickets on public roadways that is what LEO's are for. I have to admit that seeing the Fire Marshall or Game department handing out traffic citations (which they CAN do) is hilarious. 



Lying sack of DUNG.  Small towns DO NOT hire private security for traffic enforcement.  They either contract with the county to provide ALL LE services or they have their own LE personnel. 


You have GOT to know someone named Josh H... because you tell just as many of not more lies than he does.  Those lies are just as stupid and ignorant as his.  Goofballs such as yourself give security personnel a bad name.  You should go flip burgers at the King or drive a cab or sidewalk sweeper anything that does not allow you to carry a weapon.


The closest thing Private Security comes to having LE duties is a few Loss Prevention personnel have limited reserve commissions to issue a NOC for theft and trespassing.  The Chief or Sheriff, whom ever has primary territorial jurisdiction) is the one who grants that authrority.  Some LP's let that little bit of power go to their head and got slammed when they eventually stepped on their junk.  That would be you if you were ever given a limited commission.  I hate LIARS!!!


You have the rest of your life to solve the problem, how long your life lasts depends on how well you do it. -Clint Smith

Respect it

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