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Virginia, a southeastern U.S. state, stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, with a long Atlantic coastline. It's one of the 13 original colonies, with historic landmarks including Monticello, founding father Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Charlottesville plantation. The Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg are living-history museums reenacting Colonial and Revolutionary-era life.
In United States terminology, special police can mean:
Auxiliary police, members of volunteer, unpaid or paid, part-time civilian police, security officer units, interns;
Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT);
Security police; or
Special Law Enforcement Officers/ Special Jurisdiction Law Enforcement – used in New Jersey to supplement full-time police officers;
The term can also refer to limited police power granted in some jurisdictions to lifeguards, SPCA personnel, teachers, and other public sector employees which is incidental to their main responsibilities. Special Police Officers (or SPOs) can be employed to protect large campuses such as theme parks, hospital centers, and commerce centers.
Some states, such as Maryland, New York, and the District of Columbia, grant full State Police/peace officer authority to SPOs for use in whatever area they are employed to protect. They can make traffic stops in their jurisdiction if they have had accredited training. They are also permitted to conduct traffic control and investigations pertaining to the area protected by them, while a majority of SPOs are armed with a firearm, some states permit the age for an SPO to be 18, while still they can not carry a sidearm. Special police can make a criminal arrest and run blue strobe lights on their vehicle.
Virginia possesses special police officers employed, typically, in the private police field. These officers are regulated by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and are termed special conservators of the peace (SCOP). These officers must meet specific training requirements and be sworn in by the district court judge or magistrate in the area where they request a commission. These officers, when so sworn and certified, are permitted to utilize the term 'police' (this was removed by the state legislature in 2018 and they may no longer use the term) and are permitted to operate emergency vehicles equipped with red flashing/strobing lights (municipal law enforcement operates either blue or combinations of blue and red).
This class of officers should not be confused with armed security officers who in Virginia possess arrest authority on the property they are employed to protect. Armed security officers do not have fresh pursuit authority (off of their grounds/property) whereas SCOP officers do.
Smithsonian Museum Special Police in NY, Virginia, & DC
The Smithsonian museum utilizes federal employees designated as "special police" under the United States Code (Title 10, Chapter 63, §6306). These officers patrol Smithsonian property in New York, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Smithsonian Special Police Officers carry firearms, mace and handcuffs and have arrest authority on federal Smithsonian property.