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Thread: Amtrack Police

  1. #1
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    This post is not related to OC although it is directly related to VA since this is where the incident occurred. If I should have placed this somewhere else I apologize in advance.

    Anyway....

    Was on my way to work this morning and got pulled over for "speeding" by an Amtrack police officer. I was driving on Furnace Road in Lorton, VA between 123 and Lorton road (nowhere near an amtrack train station). I would debate whether or not I was speeding although I'll admit I did accelerate quickly to get in front of him because I was in the wrong lane. The thing was largely a non-event. He asked for my license and registration and told me to slow down. When I asked how fast I was going he didn't know and just compared my acceleration to his in his "5.7L Hemi".

    My question is: Does Amtrack police dept have jurisdiction outside of train stations?

    I asked the officer if he was FFX County police because I know some agencys staff real police officers as their security force (such as WMATA). He said he was not and started spouting off how Amtrack police has jurisdiction in "46 states including the commonwealth of va". I called the FFX County Police Non-emergency line to verify whether or not this was true and the guy who answered the phone was clueless.

    Comments?

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure of the answer to your question, but it sounds quite fishy to me.

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    He probably never intended to give you a ticket as he was out of his jurisdiction.

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    By my reckoning, you were about 2 1/2 miles from the Lorton Amtrak station.

    IIRC, Amtrak falls under federal authority and with all the terrorism stuff, they may have a certain radius of jurisdiction around Amtrak Stations. I'm sure that a call to the Commonwealth Attorneys office will give you an answer as to what their jurisdiction is for traffic offenses.
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    Here's the only pertinent hit in the Code of Virginia for railroad police:

    § 56-353. Railroad company may appoint police agents.
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...000+cod+56-353
    ---

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    ProShooter wrote:
    I'm sure that a call to the Commonwealth Attorneys office will give you an answer as to what their jurisdiction is for traffic offenses.
    Wouldn't a citation issued by the Amtrak Police go before the US District Court? Like a speeding ticket issued by the Park Police (GW Parkway), National Park Service Park Ranger (Civil War battlefield), etc.
    ---

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    rlh2005 wrote:
    Here's the only pertinent hit in the Code of Virginia for railroad police:

    § 56-353. Railroad company may appoint police agents.
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...000+cod+56-353

    This seems to limit their authority to"...all cases in which the rights of such railroad company are involved..." Me speeding on Furnace Road does not affect Amtrack in any way.

  8. #8
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    rlh2005 wrote:
    ProShooter wrote:
    I'm sure that a call to the Commonwealth Attorneys office will give you an answer as to what their jurisdiction is for traffic offenses.
    Wouldn't a citation issued by the Amtrak Police go before the US District Court? Like a speeding ticket issued by the Park Police (GW Parkway), National Park Service Park Ranger (Civil War battlefield), etc.
    I dont believe so, I think it stays at a state level, but I could be wrong.


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    Holy Smoke! I was also pulled over by Amtrak "police". Took place off I395 near the Seminary Rd exit. He was in a large SUV w/Amtrak ON ITS SIDE. I 1ST NOTICED HIM ON THE FAST LANE DOING ABOUT 80 MPH AND TAILGATING OTHER CARS THAT WERE NOT SWERVING OUT OF HIS WAY. WELL, HE PULLED THE SAME THING ON ME. HE GOT ON MY ASS AND TAILGATED ME. FROM MY REARVIEW MIRROR THE VEHICLE LOOKED LIKE AN ALEXANDRIA PD CAR, SO I MOVED OVER AS A COURTESY FOR A "REAL" OFFICER.

    AS HE PASSED ME HE SHOT ME A REAL DIRTY LOOK AND GUNNED IT AGAIN. I THEN NOTICED THE STICKER ON HIS DOOR -- SAID "AMTRAK POLICE". SO I LET OUT A LITTLE LAUGH. I THEN GOT BEHIND HIM AND PROCEEDED TO MATCH HIS SPEED. APRX 70 MPH. DID THIS FOR A FEW MINUTES, WHICH I GUESS PISSED HIS LITTLE EGO OFF. HE SLOWED, GOT BEHIND ME AND TURNED ON HIS LIGHTS.

    I DIDNT PULL OVER RIGHT AWAY, SINCE WE WERE ON A DANGEROUS PART OF I395 AND GOT OFF ON THE NEXT EXIT. HE CAME UP TO MY CAR ALL HUFFING AND PUFFING AND DEMANDED I/D & INSURANCE INFO. I SAID "SURE THING" AND GAVE HIM MY INFO. HE LITERALLY WENT TO HIS CAR SAT THERE FOR 10 SECONDS AND CAME BACK. HE TOLD ME HE WAS GOING TO "CUT ME A BREAK" AND LET ME GO. I TOLD HIM I HAD A FEELING HE WOULD CONSIDERING HE HAS NO JURISDICTION AT ALL. HE JUST SHOT ME ANOTHER DIRTY LOOK, HANDED ME MY STUFF AND STORMED OFF.

    I JUST LAUGHED OUT LOUD AS I HIT THE GAS AND LEFT THE AREA. WHAT A EGOMANIAC A-HOLE! IT MIGHT BE THE SAME GUY. APROX 35 YEARS OLD. 6'2" WHITE AND HEAVY SET.

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    Mayday wrote:
    ....
    I JUST LAUGHED OUT LOUD AS I HIT THE GAS AND LEFT THE AREA. WHAT A EGOMANIAC A-HOLE! IT MIGHT BE THE SAME GUY. APROX 35 YEARS OLD. 6'2" WHITE AND HEAVY SET.
    The officer does meet that description. Hindsight being what it is, I should have demanded his name, badge #, etc and written all that down.

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    Another note: Amtrak doesn't own any track in Virginia -- at least nothing appreciable. They lease the tracks owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern. I presume they own the land for the Lorton AutoTrain terminal and track connecting it to the CSX-owned mainline there.


    ---

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    Sounds like a call to the Commonwealths attorney's office is in order. If he was indeed out of his jurisdiction wouldn't he be guilty of impersonating a police officer?

    § 18.2-174. Impersonating officer.
    Any person who shall falsely assume or exercise the functions, powers, duties and privileges incident to the office of sheriff, police officer, marshal, or other peace officer, or who shall falsely assume or pretend to be any such officer, shall be deemed guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    (Code 1950, § 18.1-311; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.)


    Mayday, Do you happen to remember the officer's name that you dealt with?

  13. #13
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    Bandit wrote:
    Sounds like a call to the Commonwealths attorney's office is in order. If he was indeed out of his jurisdiction wouldn't he be guilty of impersonating a police officer?
    Not at all.

    He is a police officer, that fact is unquestioned. The issue is where does the jurisdiction rest. Let's not start looking for criminal charges where they dont exist....
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  14. #14
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    ProShooter wrote:
    Bandit wrote:
    Sounds like a call to the Commonwealths attorney's office is in order. If he was indeed out of his jurisdiction wouldn't he be guilty of impersonating a police officer?
    Not at all.

    He is a police officer, that fact is unquestioned. The issue is where does the jurisdiction rest. Let's not start looking for criminal charges where they dont exist....
    Fair enough.

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    Mayday wrote:
    Holy Smoke! I was also pulled over by Amtrak "police". Took place off I395 near the Seminary Rd exit. He was in a large SUV w/Amtrak ON ITS SIDE. I 1ST NOTICED HIM ON THE FAST LANE DOING ABOUT 80 MPH AND TAILGATING OTHER CARS THAT WERE NOT SWERVING OUT OF HIS WAY. WELL, HE PULLED THE SAME THING ON ME. HE GOT ON MY ASS AND TAILGATED ME. FROM MY REARVIEW MIRROR THE VEHICLE LOOKED LIKE AN ALEXANDRIA PD CAR, SO I MOVED OVER AS A COURTESY FOR A "REAL" OFFICER.

    AS HE PASSED ME HE SHOT ME A REAL DIRTY LOOK AND GUNNED IT AGAIN. I THEN NOTICED THE STICKER ON HIS DOOR -- SAID "AMTRAK POLICE". SO I LET OUT A LITTLE LAUGH. I THEN GOT BEHIND HIM AND PROCEEDED TO MATCH HIS SPEED. APRX 70 MPH. DID THIS FOR A FEW MINUTES, WHICH I GUESS PISSED HIS LITTLE EGO OFF. HE SLOWED, GOT BEHIND ME AND TURNED ON HIS LIGHTS.

    I DIDNT PULL OVER RIGHT AWAY, SINCE WE WERE ON A DANGEROUS PART OF I395 AND GOT OFF ON THE NEXT EXIT. HE CAME UP TO MY CAR ALL HUFFING AND PUFFING AND DEMANDED I/D & INSURANCE INFO. I SAID "SURE THING" AND GAVE HIM MY INFO. HE LITERALLY WENT TO HIS CAR SAT THERE FOR 10 SECONDS AND CAME BACK. HE TOLD ME HE WAS GOING TO "CUT ME A BREAK" AND LET ME GO. I TOLD HIM I HAD A FEELING HE WOULD CONSIDERING HE HAS NO JURISDICTION AT ALL. HE JUST SHOT ME ANOTHER DIRTY LOOK, HANDED ME MY STUFF AND STORMED OFF.

    I JUST LAUGHED OUT LOUD AS I HIT THE GAS AND LEFT THE AREA. WHAT A EGOMANIAC A-HOLE! IT MIGHT BE THE SAME GUY. APROX 35 YEARS OLD. 6'2" WHITE AND HEAVY SET.
    I'm not defending him speeding or tailgating, but you do know it is virginia law to yield the left lane to faster moving traffic?

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    It's my understanding that they are tied to RR property. Unless it's changed, they are sworn in by the circuit court but Federal law takes over when they move from venue to venue.
    Proshooter posted the statute.

    What he did was pull you over as a Citizen and can make a citizens arrest. So can you BTW.

    This is a common procedure especially in NOVA. The Airport Cops do it a lot. The scary part is that even though they are a sworn Officer, they are not subject to the same search and seizure laws a local cop is.

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    peter nap wrote:
    It's my understanding that they are tied to RR property. Unless it's changed, they are sworn in by the circuit court but Federal law takes over when they move from venue to venue.
    Proshooter posted the statute.

    What he did was pull you over as a Citizen and can make a citizens arrest. So can you BTW.

    This is a common procedure especially in NOVA. The Airport Cops do it a lot. The scary part is that even though they are a sworn Officer, they are not subject to the same search and seizure laws a local cop is.
    So what are you saying? Say one of these out of their jurisdiction cops trys to pull you over for something you did or didn't do. Can you just wave at them and keep on going?

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    Neplusultra wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    It's my understanding that they are tied to RR property. Unless it's changed, they are sworn in by the circuit court but Federal law takes over when they move from venue to venue.
    Proshooter posted the statute.

    What he did was pull you over as a Citizen and can make a citizens arrest. So can you BTW.

    This is a common procedure especially in NOVA. The Airport Cops do it a lot. The scary part is that even though they are a sworn Officer, they are not subject to the same search and seizure laws a local cop is.
    So what are you saying? Say one of these out of their jurisdiction cops trys to pull you over for something you did or didn't do. Can you just wave at them and keep on going?
    That's a good question. I expect you'd be charged with failure to stop since he is a cop, just out of his venue.
    It's one of those things I would suggest someone else try first.

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    Here's one of the cases I was thinking of:
    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1545954.pdf

    I.
    The relevant facts are not disputed. Off-duty Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) Police Officer Carl D. Moore observed appellant drive erratically, travel 70-80 mph in a 55 mph zone, change lanes without signalling, cross the far right and left solid lines, and cut off other vehicles. Using his vehicle radio, Moore attempted to summon a uniformed officer to the scene. Moore followed appellant for approximately fifteen
    *Pursuant to Code § 17-116.010 this opinion is not designated for publication.
    - 2 -
    minutes before appellant stopped at a traffic light.
    John Ivey, another off-duty MWAA officer witnessed appellant drive erratically after he heard Moore's radio report. Ivey testified he saw appellant cross both the right and left outer highway lines, weave across traffic, exceed the speed limit, and nearly strike four other vehicles before stopping for the first time at the traffic light.
    While appellant was stopped at the light, Moore and Ivey positioned their vehicles to block appellant's movement. After Moore identified himself as a MWAA officer, appellant exited his vehicle.
    Moore testified that he smelled a strong odor of alcohol about appellant and that appellant's eyes were red and glassy and his speech slurred. In response to Moore's inquiry, appellant stated he had been drinking. Moore advised appellant of the implied consent law and asked appellant to perform field sobriety tests. Appellant consented, failed two tests, and partially failed a third. By that time, a uniformed, on-duty Fairfax County police officer whose jurisdiction included the location where appellant stopped had arrived at the scene. Notwithstanding the presence of the Fairfax County officer, Moore took appellant to a nearby Fairfax County Police Station where appellant took a breath test.
    The parties agreed that Moore was outside the jurisdiction of the MWAA at the time he stopped appellant and is to be treated
    - 3 -
    as a private citizen at the time of the stop.

  20. #20
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    I had a somewhat similar experience many years ago, and as a LEO friend explained it to me later, what one cop knows, every cop knows, so even though we were out of the cop's jurisdiction when he pulled me over, he could have summoned a local jurisdiction LEO who could have written me that ticket for reckless driving.

    Ahem.

    But I'm much older, wiser and laid back these days.

    ETA: I don't offer this as authoritative advice or anything like that; it's merely a related anecdote from my past.

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    Bill in VA wrote:
    mpg9999 wrote:
    I'm not defending him speeding or tailgating, but you do know it is virginia law to yield the left lane to faster moving traffic?
    Not trying to highjack teh thread, but can you provide a cite for that? I do not believe this istrue.

    It's been along time since I took my driver's ed. test at the DMV but I seem to recall a true/false question that said something to the effect of "T or F: The left lane is the fast lane"; the answer being "F: there is on 'fast lane'on VA roadways...the speed limit is the same in all lanes" In fact, § 46.2-804(1) seems to bear this out by stating that a vehicle "proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, shall be driven in the lane nearest the right edge or right curb of the highway when such lane is available for travel except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or where right lanes are reserved for slow-moving traffic as permitted in this section." The implication being that if you're moving at normal speed of traffic you are not required to drive in one partucular lane or another.
    Well, someone who takes this subject very much more seriously than I do has gone to the trouble to create a whole web site to keep track of it all around the country!

    http://www.driverightpassleft.com/laws/

    If I recall correctly, in Virginia they experimented with a "keep right unless passing" law, which was so wildly unpopular it was repealed almost immediately. Just a foggy memory, but for what it's worth. If anyone can cite a source for that, I'd be interested to know if/when it happened.

    With that in mind, I believe it is correct that you are not required to stay in the right lane unless one of the other conditions applies.

    TFred


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    "proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time"

    I also find it interesting that this law doesn't seem to take the speed limit into account...

    TFred


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    TexasNative wrote:
    I had a somewhat similar experience many years ago, and as a LEO friend explained it to me later, what one cop knows, every cop knows, so even though we were out of the cop's jurisdiction when he pulled me over, he could have summoned a local jurisdiction LEO who could have written me that ticket for reckless driving.

    Ahem.

    But I'm much older, wiser and laid back these days.

    ETA: I don't offer this as authoritative advice or anything like that; it's merely a related anecdote from my past.
    I'm certainly glad I was quiet and peaceful in my younger years:what:

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    I've thought about this scenario, before. Personally, in the case of AMTRAK I'd refuse to supply any info to AMTRAK and I'd call 911 and have a county or stateboy show up. I would produce ID to them. There are just too damn many of these cross-juridictional federale "Law Enforcement Agencies" out there. I'll cooperate with what I consider to be a real cop, the local and state officers that do put their life on the line. These other types are wanna-bees with a badge in the name of counter terrorism. This was one of my few rants. Thanks!

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