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Thread: Conservator of the Peace

  1. #1
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    A bit off topic, unless you're approached by one. This was a new one to me. I'm basically familiar with the Conservator of the Peace designation. Tonight I saw two cars, Crown Vics marked with "Conservator of the Peace" both sides and rear deck. They were on Eisenhower Ave, in Alexandria.Roof mounted light bar (I could not determine the color), an emblemjust behind the front wheel well that appeared to be like a shield. That wording was "Virginia State" on the top, "Police" on the bottom and in the center was the Seal of Virginia with the word "Patrol", just under it. Both vehicles had private Virginia plates. One vehicle was all white and the other was, well, a black and white Crown Vic, almost out of Adam-12. One had the 4 or 5 shorty antennas on the roof. Anyone run across this before?

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    hmmm, never seen or heard of them before.

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    Thanks, pkbites. I had seen that also. Eyesopened, I know that they have arrest powers within the jurisdiction of the county/city court & I believe only on the property that they are hired to protect. However - IANAL!! The google link tells the whole story about the C.O.P.'s. I had never seen a vehicle marked up like the ones I saw tonite. If it hadn't been dark I'd have snapped a photo.

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    Funnest thing I ever saw was a unmarked police car with all kinds of stuffed critters in the back window. They where on top of the rear light bar. Sneaky you had to look real hard to see the blue lights.

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    Don't know what this "conservator of the peace" is... but here's the va code on it

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...00+cod+19.2-13



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    Secret Police? Hardly.

    It sounds more like citizens being deputised to help out

    I have never seen or met anyone that held this position. In reading the code it appears that they are basically security guards that can havepolice powers that are tasked to protect property and keep the peace.

    Keeping this gun related... the court can limit thespecial conservator of the peacefrom carrying a weapon while he is working.

    Here is the code broken down a little for easier reading......

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...00+cod+19.2-13

    Upon the application of any sheriff or chief of police of any county, city, town or any corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth or the owner, proprietor or authorized custodian of any place within the Commonwealth and the showing of a necessity for the security of property or the peace,

    a circuit court judge of any county or city, in his discretion, may appoint one or more special conservators of the peace who shall serve as such for such length of time as the court may designate, but not exceeding four years under any one appointment.

    The order of appointment may provide that a special conservator of the peace shall have all the powers, functions, duties, responsibilities and authority of any other conservator of the peace within such geographical limitations as the court may deem appropriate within the confines of the county, city or town that makes application or within the county, city or town where the corporate applicant is located, limited, except as provided in subsection E, to the judicial circuit wherein application has been made, whenever such special conservator of the peace is engaged in the performance of his duties as such.

    The order may also provide that the special conservator of the peace is a "law-enforcement officer" for the purposes of Article 4 (§ 37.2-808 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 37.2.

    The order may also provide that the special conservator of the peace may use the title "police" on any badge or uniform worn in the performance of his duties as such.

    The order may also provide that a special conservator of the peace who has completed the minimum training standards established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, has the authority to affect arrests, using up to the same amount of force as would be allowed to a law-enforcement officer employed by the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions when making a lawful arrest.

    The order also may

    (i) require the local sheriff or chief of police to conduct a background investigation which may include a review of the applicant's school records, employment records, or interviews with persons possessing general knowledge of the applicant's character and fitness for such appointment and

    (ii) limit the use of flashing lights and sirens on personal vehicles used by the conservator in the performance of his duties. Prior to granting an application for appointment, the circuit court shall ensure that the applicant has met the registration requirements established by the Criminal Justice Services Board.



    F. The court may limit or prohibit the carrying of weapons by any special conservator of the peace initially appointed on or after July 1, 1996, while the appointee is within the scope of his employment as such.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Secret Police? Hardly.

    It sounds more like citizens being deputised to help out

    I have never seen or met anyone that held this position. In reading the code it appears that they are basically security guards that can havepolice powers that are tasked to protect property and keep the peace.

    Keeping this gun related... the court can limit thespecial conservator of the peacefrom carrying a weapon while he is working.

    Here is the code broken down a little for easier reading......

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...00+cod+19.2-13

    Upon the application of any sheriff or chief of police of any county, city, town or any corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth or the owner, proprietor or authorized custodian of any place within the Commonwealth and the showing of a necessity for the security of property or the peace,

    a circuit court judge of any county or city, in his discretion, may appoint one or more special conservators of the peace who shall serve as such for such length of time as the court may designate, but not exceeding four years under any one appointment.

    The order of appointment may provide that a special conservator of the peace shall have all the powers, functions, duties, responsibilities and authority of any other conservator of the peace within such geographical limitations as the court may deem appropriate within the confines of the county, city or town that makes application or within the county, city or town where the corporate applicant is located, limited, except as provided in subsection E, to the judicial circuit wherein application has been made, whenever such special conservator of the peace is engaged in the performance of his duties as such.

    The order may also provide that the special conservator of the peace is a "law-enforcement officer" for the purposes of Article 4 (§ 37.2-808 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 37.2.

    The order may also provide that the special conservator of the peace may use the title "police" on any badge or uniform worn in the performance of his duties as such.

    The order may also provide that a special conservator of the peace who has completed the minimum training standards established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, has the authority to affect arrests, using up to the same amount of force as would be allowed to a law-enforcement officer employed by the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions when making a lawful arrest.

    The order also may

    (i) require the local sheriff or chief of police to conduct a background investigation which may include a review of the applicant's school records, employment records, or interviews with persons possessing general knowledge of the applicant's character and fitness for such appointment and

    (ii) limit the use of flashing lights and sirens on personal vehicles used by the conservator in the performance of his duties. Prior to granting an application for appointment, the circuit court shall ensure that the applicant has met the registration requirements established by the Criminal Justice Services Board.



    F. The court may limit or prohibit the carrying of weapons by any special conservator of the peace initially appointed on or after July 1, 1996, while the appointee is within the scope of his employment as such.
    LEO 229,

    Did I read correctly in the link how little firearms training is actually required of LEOs and these Special Conservators of the Peace?

    Yikes!



    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    It hasn't been all that long ago that the Department of Commerce regulated Security Guards and Private Investigators. Very little training needed.

    Bailbondsmen and Bounty hunters needed no training and Bounty Hunters were completely unregulated.

    Business's could hire their own people and have them Sworn by the local PD as Special Police...No training Required.

    Railroads had their own Police Departments sworn by the Circuit Court. No training required.

    So On,

    When the DOJ took over most of that, training and certification began to be required. This seems to be a housekeeping statute for the Special Police and RR Police.

    I also expect some localities pushed for it for their Security people they use to guard the municipal grounds. The training isn't as intense or expensive as Police Officers and the insurance is lower.

    I was with the State in those days and it was pretty loose. I had the unpleasant opportunity to meet a Special police Officer once that could not read or write!:shock:

    He could sign his name but couldn't read what he was signing. He had a relative in the Richmond PD that had appointed him. I heard later that he was in prison for raping his cousin.
    He also shot a shpplifting suspect in the leg, to keep him from running.



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    Thundar wrote:
    LEO 229,

    Did I read correctly in the link how little firearms training is actually required of LEOs and these Special Conservators of the Peace?

    Yikes!
    It only seems logical that anyone who will be employed to protectandcarriesa gunshould be trained on when and how it should be used. They should also prove that they can sufficiently hit the intended target too.

    Nothing like paying someone like Barney Fife to guard your property only to find he is more of a danger than a bad guy who knows how to shoot. :P

    Bounty hunters basically self employed and simply find people worth money. They use a gun for personal protection and are not being paid to actually protecting the public.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Bounty hunters basically self employed and simply find people worth money. They use a gun for personal protection and are not being paid to actually protecting the public.
    That's true 229 but The DOJ now regulates Bounty Hunters also.

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    peter nap wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    Bounty hunters basically self employed and simply find people worth money. They use a gun for personal protection and are not being paid to actually protecting the public.
    That's true 229 but The DOJ now regulates Bounty Hunters also.
    Do they..? I had no idea.. Not my area of expertise..

    Thanks for the notice. I am now a little wiser... just a little..

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Thundar wrote:
    LEO 229,

    Did I read correctly in the link how little firearms training is actually required of LEOs and these Special Conservators of the Peace?

    Yikes!
    It only seems logical that anyone who will be employed to protectandcarriesa gunshould be trained on when and how it should be used. They should also prove that they can sufficiently hit the intended target too.

    Nothing like paying someone like Barney Fife to guard your property only to find he is more of a danger than a bad guy who knows how to shoot. :P

    Bounty hunters basically self employed and simply find people worth money. They use a gun for personal protection and are not being paid to actually protecting the public.
    Barney Fife I can handle. Private security with little training and police powers is quite scary. I am sure that some of the better companies have more than the minimum training, but then again private companies operate with the dollar as thebottom line.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Upon the application of any sheriff or chief of police of any county, city, town or any corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth or the owner, proprietor or authorized custodian of any place within the Commonwealth and the showing of a necessity for the security of property or the peace,

    The order may also provide that the special conservator of the peace is a "law-enforcement officer" for the purposes of Article 4 (§ 37.2-808 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 37.2.

    ...
    The order may also provide that a special conservator of the peace who has completed the minimum training standards established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, has the authority to affect arrests, using up to the same amount of force as would be allowed to a law-enforcement officer employed by the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions when making a lawful arrest.
    Hrm. So, if I went through this process and was granted the appropriate certification, I could affect arrests on my own property {assuming I requested police powers for my property} like any other LEO could? So, I could see someone tresspassing or the local slacker teen population and hook 'em and take em down to the local pokey to get 'em booked?

    Sweet... but, I'm lazy so I doubt I'll do that.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Xeni wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    Upon the application of any sheriff or chief of police of any county, city, town or any corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth or the owner, proprietor or authorized custodian of any place within the Commonwealth and the showing of a necessity for the security of property or the peace,

    The order may also provide that the special conservator of the peace is a "law-enforcement officer" for the purposes of Article 4 (§ 37.2-808 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 37.2.

    ...
    The order may also provide that a special conservator of the peace who has completed the minimum training standards established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, has the authority to affect arrests, using up to the same amount of force as would be allowed to a law-enforcement officer employed by the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions when making a lawful arrest.
    Hrm. So, if I went through this process and was granted the appropriate certification, I could affect arrests on my own property {assuming I requested police powers for my property} like any other LEO could? So, I could see someone tresspassing or the local slacker teen population and hook 'em and take em down to the local pokey to get 'em booked?

    Sweet... but, I'm lazy so I doubt I'll do that.

    You can do thhat anyway Xeni!

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    You have to wonder why a citizen would be attracted to " serving his community" in this fashion. Perhaps they could recruit the nuts that were driving around Fairfax County playing cop bypulling over people. Fortunately both were arrested, one after pulling over an off duty officer, LOL.

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    That was funny... He said "I'm an off duty Fairfax cop".. and she said "me too!"

    D'oh!!

    But I the the Conservators are hired and paid by companies to watch the property so they do not work for free like the Auxiliary cops.

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    Hmmm. I just took my VA private security class recently.

    It's against the Virginia Administrative Code to use the virginia seal in your uniform. It's also illegal to use any type of insignia that implies your a law enforcement officer.

    Not sure if there are special exceptions for conservators of the peace.



    ATTENTION:
    I was told by a DCJS private security trainer that the special conservators of the peace as regulated by VA DCJS will soon be treated as a qualified member under HR 218.

    This is critical if you want to carry a handgun in every state without restriction. When/If this announcement is made that the VA DCJS conservator of the peace classification qualifies you for HR 218 then you can expect hundreds of people to be signing up for those classes and they will fill really fast.

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    nova wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    Secret Police? Hardly.
    haha you know I'm just kidding :P
    Ya.. that is why I was laughing so hard.....

  20. #20
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    If the cars said "Virginia State... something-or-other," it was probably the "Virginia State Patrol" outfit.

    While I have nothing whatsoever against the concept of Special Conservator's of the Peace, I think language on a vehicle or uniform that says "Virginia State Patrol" is recklessly or deliberately misleading, and could cause many persons to mistake that outfit for the Virginia State Police. The Virginia State Patrol personnel have been known to write "VSP" after their name on the Criminal Complaint when they apply for a warrant with the magistrate. That is very misleading, as a State Trooper would use the same abbreiviation.

    Virginia got rid of Special Police Officers altogether in 2004. So, that leaves only Conservators of the Peace, and Special Conservators of the Peace with any arrest authority for the full range of probable cause misdemeanors. Armed Security Guards, come close. But an Armed Security Guard answers primarily to the store or company for which he is employed, and is NOT an officer of the Court. Plus, the Armed Security Guard's authority is limited to his employer's premises. Off the employer's premises, an Armed Security Guard can only make a citizen's arrest, which means only crimes constituting a breach of the peace.

    I won't talk further here about Conservators, as Conservators typically hold that status by virtue of their employment (Magistrate, Commonwealth's Attorney, and such). You won't find those sorts of Conservator's making arrests at the Donut shop. Further, a Conservator is not required to have ANY training.

    By contrast, the Special Conservator must pass all the DCJS requirements, post a bond, obtain a DCJS "Registration" (license) AND must also "demonstrate need" to a Circuit Court Judge in order to be appointed and empowered as a Special Conservator. This "showing of need" is ANYTHING BUT a rubber-stamp process.

    There is considerable confusion whether one's status as a Special Conservator confers HR218 protections (50-state carry), or allows the use of the state seal on uniforms or insignia. In some cases, theses authorities are specifically granted as part of the Court's order of appointment. Arguably, absent such grants of authority in the appointment-order, those privileges may be construed as denied.

    I guess the bottom line is this. The Armed Security Guard answers to a private company. Whereas, a Special Conservator answers to the Circuit Court Judge.

    I like to use this example of the powers of a Special Conservator (a.k.a "SCOP"):
    Joe SCOP is doing his special conservator gig at the donut shop, when he hears a car crash down around the corner. Joe SCOP runs out of the donut shop, and around the corner, where he sees a Camaro crashed into a very expensive traffic control box. Single-vehicle accident. Damage to public property. The driver exits the car and begins running from the scene of the crash. Joe SCOP can make a probable cause arrest of the hit-and-run driver right then and there in his capacity as a Special Conservator. A security guard could not do this because he is no longer in his donut shop. A private citizen could not make a citizen's arrest because there is no breach of the peace.


  21. #21
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    That was a very good summation W.E.G.
    Slightly OT but related, the General Assembly is considering the Magistrates Reorganization Bill this year.

    It would finally require Magistrates to have something of an education and require the chief Magistrate in each Venue to be an attorney.

    I have never understood the rational for allowing the first level of the courts system, to be nearly anyone. While there are many very good Magistrates, that do not have a B.A. there are many more that should not be in the system.

    For instance (These may be outdated) Shannon is/was the Chief Magistrate in Richmond. He is an ex-cop and considered the office a division of the Police Department.

    John Mehfoud, chief Magistrate in Henrico is a Psychotic little twit who got the job because of his fathers tenure on the Board of Supervisors.

    Ms. Martin, Chief Magistrate of Hanover (She may be dead now) was an extremely fat farm woman with a bad attitude toward everyone.

    None of the above would qualify under the proposed bill.

    These are the people who are supposed to be the first cog in the machine. It's hard to criticize Police Officers about how they execute warrants when there is no discussion concerning IF the warrant should have been issued in the first place.

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    Peter that was an excellent and fair analysis. I think EVERY STATE NEEDS THIS BILL.



    Great post

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    Newbie W.E.G.'s Avatar
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    I don't wish to de-rail this thread onto discussion of Magistrates. But, I do want to point out that Virginia Magistrates are grossly-underpaid in the context of any requirement that a Magistrate be licensed to practice law.

    Starting salary for a Magistrate is $38,583.
    Nobody can live on that in northern Virginia.
    Frankly, it would be hard to live on that almost ANYWHERE in Virginia.
    And they want somebody with a LAW DEGREE to take that kind of pay?
    A starting job as a cop or a fireman pays better than that!

    A starting position as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney (common just-out-of-law-school job) pays vastly better than that.

    Yeah, the Chief Magistrate for a large jurisdicition probably makes a bit more than $39K, but the pay for 95% of the Magistrates still sucks.

    http://www.examiner.com/a-647275~Fai...igher_pay.html



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    Getting off topic with Magistrate talk...

    But I think most of them are retired guys looking to get a little extracash for some easy work.

    I have had a few that were not that bright... good charges and they refused to issue a warrant. They basically held their own court and played Judge finding the guy "Not Guilty"

    I did my part... Not much else I can do.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Getting off topic with Magistrate talk...

    But I think most of them are retired guys looking to get a little extracash for some easy work.

    I have had a few that were not that bright... good charges and they refused to issue a warrant. They basically held their own court and played Judge finding the guy "Not Guilty"

    I did my part... Not much else I can do.

    Uh Leo....That's what they're supposed to do! Since it's an inferior court, you can always ask the Commonwealth for a direct indictment if you feel their refusal is improper.

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