Greater Oversight of Special Police Forces Sought

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, legislation may be introduced during the upcoming General Assembly session to seek greater oversight of special police forces that operate in Baltimore City and across the State.

For decades, “special police” — security guards with police powers — have provided an extra layer of eyes and ears on the streets, supplementing the sworn police force at no cost to taxpayers and protecting some of Baltimore’s most venerable institutions.

But city and state police, who have separate laws authorizing special police, do not provide or require training of the officers, do not monitor their actions and do not generally investigate complaints against them, The Baltimore Sun reported this weekend. Employers are responsible for oversight, and the state and city have no liability for their actions after granting them the authority to take police action.

This action is in response to complaints and a law suit that have been filed against special police in Baltimore City stating that they have exceeded their authority.  Possible legislation may include required training and the establishment of statewide qualifications.

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