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Thread: Private sector "commissioned" police officers....how does that work?

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    Regular Member Superlite27's Avatar
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    Private sector "commissioned" police officers....how does that work?

    I was just pondering how state laws work regarding the difference between private and public universities and how gun laws differ regarding the difference in administration.

    This got me thinking about the police and the bureaucracy regarding the difference, as well. I can understand how a state ran school employs officers. But.....if a private university has police....how do they have any authority? Isn't their employer a private business? If private businesses can just say, "Hey, we have police officers now. They have neat cars, cool uniforms, shiny badges, and can lawfully arrest you. TA-DA!".....What's to stop oh, let's say....Wal-Mart, shopping malls, or your local Pappy's Pizza from doing the same?

    So I looked it up.

    It seems, (go figure) that state legislatures have passed laws allowing private universities to commission police. Well, the law is the law, is the law, so okay. I guess it's the law.

    However, continuing on with my convoluted thoughts: How is this law constitutional? Wouldn't this be unfair business practice by government? How can the state pick and choose between private companies and determine one can perform a government operation (commissioning of police) while another private business cannot?

    Therefore, since we've travelled down the wormhole this far, there's no reason to stop now: If it is eventually found to be discriminatory, private universities would no longer be allowed to unfairly commission their own little armies. Otherwise, to be fair, ALL businesses would be allowed to commission their own cops.

    Then I could just incorporate.

    TA-DA! I commission myself a cop!

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    Could we/I have a citation please? It's an interesting idea, first complicated by the tiny fraction of truly private universities, like Hillsdale College! Toot toot toot.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    The question will require state specific answers.

    Presume you are seeking responses pertinent to Missouri - moving it to that sub-forum.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 12-01-2013 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Nothing edited or added
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    Regular Member Superlite27's Avatar
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    Cite? For what? How about a Google search?

    Searching for "private university police" (notice it is NOT state specific, but a general inquiry into HOW private schools have their own police. Unless I am mistaken and Missouri is the only state in which this occurs?) http://www.google.com/search?site=&s...15.L_YRipWmUiQ

    Wow. All kinds of "cites" here, along with a lengthy Wikipedia article on "Campus Police".

    Here's one stating the actual act from Illinois: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs...6&ChapterID=18

    Here's one from St. Edward's University (Whatever state that happens to belong in) bragging about how they were the
    FIRST private university police department: http://think.stedwards.edu/police/

    ...and the list goes on.
    Last edited by Superlite27; 11-26-2013 at 02:39 PM.

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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    I find your questions to be very compelling and far from limited to the state of Missouri.

    Your concerns are very constitutional in nature, 2A v. Private Property owner rights.

    The other part of your post was concerning private entities with police presence and power. Basically a private army. A very controversial topic with many current high profile attentions, the most known probably the incident at Gonzaga University at Spokane, Washington, a private Catholic University. Readers Digest Condensed Version: two students in off campus student housing fend off a home invasion attempt with a handgun. Gonzaga has policies prohibiting firearms in the student housing. The two call CAMPO [campus police] and Spokane Police dept. to report the incident. Spokane PD says "good job", CAMPO comes back a few hours later at about 2 AM, enters the home and confiscates firearms within the dwelling. No warrant. Search and seizure questions raised. Two students threatened with expulsion. Uproar ensues. Gonzaga backs down, returns weapons, puts two students on double secret probation. It ain't over yet.

    Campus Police [CAMPO]. In most settings, CAMO is little more than Hall Monitors with keys and a flashlight. They have the same police powers of a citizen. No more, no less. I think their magic suit does give them protection from pixie dust, but no different from the real blue suits, they will not stop a Buick. The sooner this is instilled in cadets, the sooner our costs of having the security of a police force will go down.

    Some Universities, private and public, hire off duty police officers that wear their regular uniform and have the powers of their regular job. Some communities will commision campus security with limited police powers.

    Then we have some situations that would make a preacher say "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot". Yale University is a private Ivy League University in New Haven, Connecticut. Private being key in that description. The Yale University Police Department has 87 sworn police officers with full powers of law enforcement and arrest. Those officers are armed and patrol the campus on foot, by motorcycles, on mountain bikes, and in cars equipped with computers and radio communications systems, all tied in to public owned police networks. Now get this: Yale has a private SWAT team. They were out yesterday for the MWAG scare.
    Probably what upset authorities more than anything else about yesterday's hoax at Yale was the exposure and identifiability of their SWAT members to extremely intelligent anarchistic youth in various stages of their defiance towards authority figures.

    As far as the constitutionality of a "private police force / private army", I can't answer that. I'm still wrestling with the concept of a "public police" that have the power to kill you for dissenting to their intrusion. I can't find anything about that in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.
    Last edited by Fuller Malarkey; 11-26-2013 at 04:10 PM.
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    Regular Member JEStucker's Avatar
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    But where does the line get drawn? You said Yale has their own SWAT team, we all know Ohio State has their own police force that is now equipped with a freakin' MRAP...
    http://thelantern.com/2013/09/ohio-s...itary-vehicle/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3949750.html

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    The laws that allow such are different from state to state. The OP indicates he does not want it in the Missouri sub-forum (his home state) as a state specific question. It then comes down to how is it related to OC or RKBA?

    Show me a direct tie to RKBA and it may go in General Discussion. If no real connection, then the Social Lounge remains as the only appropriate section IF the point is other than a general complaint/bashing of such officers.

    The OP can inform me of his thinking by PM.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    The ability of a state agency (university) or a private college in Virginia to develop and maintain a "police" force is extremely tightly controlled by the Dept. of Criminal Justices Services (JCJS) which is an entity of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
    http://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/standardsTraining/

    These particular standards would not be applicable in any other state.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 11-26-2013 at 09:19 PM.
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    Regular Member Superlite27's Avatar
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    Well, considering it is a discussion about laws concerning the commission of police officers, it could go in "The Law Library".......but that forum specifically denotes it is for topics concerning frequently asked questions regarding the law. Mine isn't as much a frequently asked question regarding the law inasmuch as it is a query regarding the constitutionality of the state designating a college (a private business) worthy of commissioning employees to act as agents of the state, therefore, encompassing the powers designated to such agents. (Of which powers, CARRYING A FIREARM is one.) However, in empowering (by law) a private college to do so, they discriminate.

    Why can't Snuffy's Bar-B-Que Shack send several of their employees to the academy, buy a nice, shiny patrol car, and commission duly sworn and POST certified officers to drive around Snuffy's parking lot and make lawful arrests?

    After all, So and So University can. They're a PRIVATE BUSINESS just like Snuffy's Bar-B-Que.

    Once a duly commissioned officer, they can pretty much lawfully carry everywhere.

    I dunno. Seems like we're generally discussing a rather vague topic that is generally, but not specifically, related to RKBA in general. Wish we had a spot for general discussions.

    Of course, it's also related to campuses(?) so "Students for Concealed Carry on Campus" might be the place. However, I'm not a student, and it's not really a CC topic, so maybe not.

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    1 campus.....2 campii?
    Last edited by Superlite27; 11-26-2013 at 11:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Show me a direct tie to RKBA and it may go in General Discussion.
    I believe the tie in would be the very purpose of commissioning the private police departments and the relationship to constitutionality in general since the RKBA is the topical portion of the constitution most are interested in, how the commissioning impacts that under private policing remains topical.

    Now while the OP has indeed stated "private police" this is a REALLY blurry line. Many universities indeed are state owned where such police forces exist and then there are indeed some private institutions with similar forces in place, but are they private? Much debate may be had, however, if the institution accepts federal funding, that line is really blurry because the rules change a lot.

    Since it is not possible for me to violate your constitutional rights on my own private property, it allows me to make my own rules as I see fit. It however does not grant me the ability to touch you etc. I could say you may only speak ill of abortion on my property and any pro-abortion opinions expressed will result in your ejection from my property and if you refuse I can indeed call the government to come escort or forcibly remove you from the property and none of your rights will have been violated.

    If however i have indeed entered into an agreement with the government to accept federal funding and provide a publicly accessible institution, my abilities to eject you have become more limited. While private I could say no persons in wheel chairs, accepting federal funds I have to modify to accommodate or I can indeed face civil penalties. you also may now speak far more freely with regard to abortion and I am actually quite limited in my abilities to protest that speech without opening myself to civil liabilities as I hold some level of power over you and would indeed be abusing it if I objected too firmly or improperly.

    Why and how does this apply to RKBA? well if you take a close look at it, pretty much the whole bill of rights is indeed protected for persons entering upon this private property that is publicly funded and accessible EXCEPT the 2a part of the bill of rights. Now a lot of people tend to misunderstand how some laws actually work and the difference in public vs private property all by itself. If you are in an area that does not permit OC, does that apply to your own property? No, but a lot of folks THINK it does. You may not be legal if you step onto the easement or sidewalk, but on private property it is a lot different, unless of course you are in constitutional free zones like Chicago or DC where it seems that even SCOTUS has difficulty explaining it to them.

    So how does any of this apply? Well lets take a good long look at the GOALS of the commissioning of a private police force, the more recent IMHO make it very clear.

    "Senate Bill 405, passed into law on June 23, 2011, states: "The State Board of Higher Education may, at the request of a public university under its control, authorize the university to establish a police department and commission one or more employees as police officers. A police department established under this section has all of the authority and immunity of a municipal police department of this state."[2]

    Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 352.385 provides for the commissioning and training of Special Campus Security Officers at Oregon's public universities. These officers are given probable cause arrest authority and "Stop and Frisk" authority under Oregon law."

    Now sir, I offer that with the two of the primary goals defined as establishing qualified immunity and searching for weapons, that since every other portion of the bill of rights seems to remain protected, that the establishment of a private police force is clearly conducted in an affront to the RKBA.

    I acknowledge I have used only one state, the most recent to outline my opinion, but would offer that it applies in a broader sense as well.

    Some call it security, others call it economic abuse of the constitution due to the average citizen while having the right to petition to SCOTUS, the required funding rarely exist and even upon a successful petition, round two is often required as well, cite Chicago and DC as applied to Miller.

    I believe it applies to RKBA discussions opinions may vary.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Actually the OP and subsequent arguments have solidified the reason for leaving the thread in the Missouri sub-forum - though the topic may be of broad interest, there are 50 states + D.C. with different circumstances/laws/rules/standards.

    No reason that a thread cannot be considered in another state sub-forum where such could be discussed within the parameters that exist there.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 11-30-2013 at 02:35 PM. Reason: speeling
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    I would sooner say a private university, or even just a neighborhood has more right to form a private police force, even a SWAT team, than a state or municipality.

    The state cannot possibly have more powers than the people who delegate power to it. The people inherently have police powers.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Start with the state laws regarding firearms - http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/c571.htm

    As for how a university can establish policies/regulations about firearms that are different from the above, see (as an example - other universities/colleges should have similar) http://www.ucmo.edu/upo/bog/

    Missouri law is a bit convoluted for me to immediately find the statute that fixes the powers of boards of governors. Someone more familiar with where that lies within the statutes can steer you towards it.

    If you want things standardized across the state, get a preemption statute that covers both local government and state agencies. This http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/c000-099/0210000750.htm does not cover state agencies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Missouri law is a bit convoluted for me to immediately find the statute that fixes the powers of boards of governors. Someone more familiar with where that lies within the statutes can steer you towards it.

    stay safe.
    21.750 has been a problem since it was put into action in the 80s.

    Police powers for university's us statutes 174.xxx

    Where it is placed on the forums actually does not alter the applicability to all states considering all but 2 actually authorize such forces. How it is done and the specifics surrounding each however likely differs enough to make multi-state discussions a bit hard to follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMTD View Post
    2Where it is placed on the forums actually does not alter the applicability to all states considering all but 2 actually authorize such forces. How it is done and the specifics surrounding each however likely differs enough to make multi-state discussions a bit hard to follow.
    please cite to Wisconsin's authorization of commissioned private college/university security forces.
    Last edited by Nightmare; 12-01-2013 at 07:04 AM. Reason: emphasis for the hard of reading
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    please cite to Wisconsin's authorization of commissioned private college/university security forces.
    Since this is in a Missouri sub-forum page.... WHY?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    please cite to Wisconsin's authorization of commissioned private college/university security forces.
    36.11 of the statutes authorize the university of Wisconsin's force.

    (2) Police authority.
    (a) The board shall have concurrent police power, with other authorized peace officers, over all property subject to its jurisdiction, and all property contiguous to such property at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside if owned by a nonprofit corporation the primary purpose of which, as determined by the board, is to benefit the system. Such concurrent police authority shall not be construed to reduce or lessen the authority of the police power of the community or communities in which a campus may be located. All campus police officers shall cooperate with and be responsive to the local police authorities as they meet and exercise their statutory responsibilities. The designated agents of the board may arrest, with or without warrant, any person on such property who they have reasonable grounds to believe has violated a state law or any rule promulgated under this chapter and deliver such person to any court having jurisdiction over the violation and execute a complaint charging such person with the violation. This subsection does not impair the duty of any other peace officers within their jurisdictions to arrest and take before the proper court persons found violating any state law on such property.
    (b) The board may employ police for the institutions and chiefs to head such police, or contract for police, all of whom shall be deemed peace officers under s. 939.22 (22) under the supervision and control of the appropriate chancellor or the chancellor's designees. Such police officers shall meet the minimum standards established for other police officers by the law enforcement standards board or a comparable agency. Such police shall preserve the peace on all property described under par. (a), enforce all rules promulgated under this chapter and all other laws, and for that purpose the chancellor or the chancellor's designee may call for aid from such other persons as is deemed necessary.
    Cross-reference: See also ch. UWS 18, Wis. adm. code.

    There is also some push to extend that authorization to other private institutions which i believe would indeed make the discussion very topical to parties in WI. As the private sector are served by the department of public safety and there have been repeated pushes to commission those officers with police powers, the notable difference would be powers of arrest as they are already armed etc.
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    Regular Member Superlite27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMTD View Post
    The designated agents of the board may arrest, with or without warrant, any person on such property who they have reasonable grounds to believe has violated a state law or any rule promulgated under this chapter and deliver such person to any court having jurisdiction over the violation and execute a complaint charging such person with the violation .
    or any rule promulgated under this chapter
    So a person may be arrested, charged, tried, and possibly convicted...

    ...of breaking a rule created, not by legislative process, but by a private board of a PRIVATE business?

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    Since this is in a Missouri sub-forum page.... WHY?
    Apparently he did not read the full thread.

    See posts numbered 3, 7, 8, & 11.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 12-01-2013 at 05:14 PM. Reason: corrected
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlite27 View Post
    So a person may be arrested, charged, tried, and possibly convicted...

    ...of breaking a rule created, not by legislative process, but by a private board of a PRIVATE business?
    Uhm, well being "convicted" of breaking a rule means exactly what? It makes no difference if another student says it, a teacher says it etc, the Dean in most cases makes the final call, noting that it many cases there is a student appeals process etc.

    I am not sure they get the "tried" portion in most cases, however it could be a disciplinary hearing with a board oversight, likely depends upon the institution.

    The security forces without police powers can already do that same thing, less the arrest beyond a citizens arrest. It is in fact more protective of students rights to have a police force vs a security force in some ways as a police force must have PC to search without a warrant, a security force does not need anything to search university property aka dorm rooms etc.

    There are some really good reasons to step to the level of police over security, however it also does lend itself to another level of governing of people and while typically non-restrictive, that depends upon view as mentioned earlier all other rights seem to have merit but 2a rights so they also typically fail in that area. Notably, that is not always a "liberal position" type of choice and within some accrediting guidelines it must exist.
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    Some few years ago, while camping at Bass River Resort, a security guard with "arrest" powers (just like a deputy) walked the family sites informing folks to turn off radios at 11PM. He sported a badge and a gun. The dude looked more like Paul Blart than a trim and fit deputy. Incidentally, he sat on the tailgate of a mid-90s Ford Ranger PU truck, near the entrance to the family side of the resort, most of the time. Not sure if he stayed all night.

    If you get POST cert'd you can be hired to act like a cop while getting paid by a private business it seems in MO. I'll wager that STL city and county would not put up with "private cops." No requirement for "professional courtesy."

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Many people probably confuse off duty cops working as private security as officers sworn by the private party. But in some states it is legal for private enterprise to employ police officers with the correct certification. Most business would rather hire security as the liability is lower, and the control higher, and the cost savings. Because some colleges are so large they have almost no choice to hire their own police. Otherwise they would have to rely on local and state police who they cannot control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMTD View Post
    Uhm, well being "convicted" of breaking a rule means exactly what? It makes no difference if another student says it, a teacher says it etc, the Dean in most cases makes the final call, noting that it many cases there is a student appeals process etc.

    I am not sure they get the "tried" portion in most cases, however it could be a disciplinary hearing with a board oversight, likely depends upon the institution.

    The security forces without police powers can already do that same thing, less the arrest beyond a citizens arrest. It is in fact more protective of students rights to have a police force vs a security force in some ways as a police force must have PC to search without a warrant, a security force does not need anything to search university property aka dorm rooms etc.

    There are some really good reasons to step to the level of police over security, however it also does lend itself to another level of governing of people and while typically non-restrictive, that depends upon view as mentioned earlier all other rights seem to have merit but 2a rights so they also typically fail in that area. Notably, that is not always a "liberal position" type of choice and within some accrediting guidelines it must exist.
    What your talking about makes me think about MPs on post versus post security. My local post runs a private security for the gate, but they sometimes have the Air Force SF guys tooling around in pickups conducting traffic stops. I remember 2 years ago they were ordered by their chain to sit at a stop sign and pull over anyone who didn't stop at the sign for 3 seconds. They literally had to count the cars and the chain wanted to see their ticket books as proof.

  24. #24
    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    What your talking about makes me think about MPs on post versus post security. My local post runs a private security for the gate, but they sometimes have the Air Force SF guys tooling around in pickups conducting traffic stops. I remember 2 years ago they were ordered by their chain to sit at a stop sign and pull over anyone who didn't stop at the sign for 3 seconds. They literally had to count the cars and the chain wanted to see their ticket books as proof.
    Enlightening very very enlightening. "YOUR post", so you are not actually a civilian cop? The above really explains a lot why you are trying to interject your authority on a internet board.
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