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VA Navy Police Reduced to "Security Guards"

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  • VA Navy Police Reduced to "Security Guards"

    From --

    In the fall, the Navy shifted patrol duties at off-base military housing from their own force to city police agencies. At the same time, Navy police officers in Hampton Roads have not had access to a computer database that shows if a driver is a wanted criminal or has a prior record, according to the officers and the Navy.

    Now, Navy police officers say their jobs have been reduced to little more than those of security guards.

    Navy officials say that security at the region?s installations has been strengthened since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but Jay Stamps, a union official who represents base police, said, ?The whole base is in danger.?

    ?Their job is more than writing traffic tickets,? Stamps said. ?Those officers are not able to do their jobs.?

    Virginia law enforcement agencies and the FBI obtain that information for free, but state law requires that other criminal justice agencies pay to connect to the system.

    Navy police in Hampton Roads had access to the system until September, when the Navy stopped paying Virginia for its connection.

    ?We should be bringing the system back up in the next couple of weeks,? said Capt. Shawn Morrissey, director of public safety for the Navy Mid-Atlantic region.

    Still, some base police think that the Navy?s actions against them in the p ast few years have stripped them of their authority to enforce the law. In the fall of 2004, for example, the Navy removed officers? ability to enforce Virginia criminal laws.

    Morrissey said the change was recommended by the Department of Defense, which determined that federal officers should be responsible only for federal crimes. If there is a state crime, the case would be turned over to municipal police, he said, adding that statistics showed few arrests for state criminal violations on federal property.

    ?The primary purpose of those individuals is the protection of our assets and personnel,? Morrissey said.

    Even the Navy unit?s titles have changed. Although the word ?police? is emblazoned on the side of their patrol cars, the Navy police officers are officially called ?naval security force members,? Morrissey said.

    ?They have arrest powers,? he said. ?They can detain personnel. They?re armed and properly trained and all those things.?

    Some officers think the changes are causing staff to leave in droves.

    Morrissey said, however, that security has been reinforced by using private security guards and military personnel for some roles . The Navy?s service-member security positions, called master at arms, increased nationally by 10,000 since 2001, he said.


    So, in a state where armed security officers have arrest powers on property, and Special Conservators of the Peace have arrest powers as well... The Navy's Civilian Police Force feels they're doing the job of a "security guard."

    It sounds like they are. Protection of assets, not enforcement of law.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  • #2
    Police powers are a sore point with most people performing "base police" type duties on military reservations. If you read the DoD police message boards the main gripes are 1. federal leo status 2. powers of arrest 3. carrying off duty.
    Now simply put they perform police duties on base under the authority of the base commander. They have no federal law enforcement status, thats what the FBI, NIS and other agencies are for. Thier power over military personnel is limited, thats up to military police and command authority. Any authority they have stops at the base fence, but they are trying to extend thier "authority" beyond that line.
    Are they police or security? Well on base they can call them what they wish. Most have very short if any training usually consisting of a few weeks security training. I really don't feel like giving "federal" law enforcement status off base to personnel who serve the military- posse commitatus comes to mind. On base they serve at the military commanders pleasure. With all that in mind, yeah they're security whether the name fails to dazzle them or not.
    Old age and treachery will defeat youth and enthusiasm every time-


    • #3
      Originally posted by ycaso77
      Are they police or security?
      Don't know. However, if they direct me to do something, I'm not going to argue with them.
      Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)


      • #4
        Well whatever they are they're hiring at the base South of me, call me Security Guard or Cop.... you can call me "bumblehead", as long as I'm not walking around in a 3 peice suit, and hitting detex clocks, and taking car reservations and mopping up rain puddles..... hey I'm happy... Think I'll apply


        • #5
          Around here they are slowly progressing to Security Officers, literally. As of now at the navy base here and it is transitioning to this at the AF base here too, they are being replaced at the gates by contract security (Akal at the AF base can't remember the name of the navy base company) The SOs are being told that in the near future they will take over all LE duties on the base getting rid of the DOD Police that are doing it now. (The reason I know this one of my new officers was a LT at Akal and left unhappy)


          • #6
            I think that in many cases in the US, the term Police is used rather loosely, but as shown in the previous Threads this is changing and is being replaced by the term Security Guard/Officer.

            The US and I think Canada are the only countries that have Campus Police. In other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Universities have a Security Department, which is either staffed with their own employees or private security contractors.

            Interesting to note that the provision of security services to military establishments is now being undertaken by security contractors and this appears to be a world wide trend.

            The problem with the out sourcing of services which where traditionally in-house military, is that in many cases the contract is awarded to the lowest tenderer and you know the old saying, "You get what you pay for"


            • #7
              Canadian university "police" do do not have full police powers nor are they armed. It seems they are more security as thier offical title is "Special Constable"

              U.S. university police officers are bonefide law enforcement agents as they are fully empowered and armed.
              I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
              -Lieutenant Commander Data


              • #8
                Remember, too, that a university police officer is an agent of the state, as the university is a public campus run by the state. Which is why they are fully sworn state police officers.

                A private college may have "public safety" officers, or "peace" officers, but they would be hard pressed to have police officers, as they are not run by the Government, and their public safety officers are not agents of the government.

                As I've said before, when a government unit or organization, like a Board of Regents, charges a group of its employees with a primary duty to enforce its laws, they had best be fully accredited law enforcement officers subject to any and all state laws concerning the commissioning of LEOs.

                Because, if they're not, then their skirting around the law. A Public Safety Department consisting of non-sworn personnel can be tasked with the preservation of order and protection of persons and property, but when their primary task is enforcing the law - they become LEOs and must be certified as such.

                Now, a private entity can task someone with enforcement of law and campus regulation, subject to the prevailing laws of their jurisdiction as to citizen's authority. That enforcement action may be the taking of prisoners into custody , or it may be referring violators to a police department. Since the entity isn't a department in the government, they can do what they want.
                Some Kind of Commando Leader

                "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law