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Private Police Act question


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  • Private Police Act question

    I am looking for an explaination of Leg Act 501 - PA's Private Police Act. As far as I can tell it governs all aspects of police officers in PA employed by private entities such as colleges and universities, railroads, etc.

    Are these officers recognized by the LE community and by the law as police officers? Are these cops limited in the scope of their authority in any way? Are these agencies that employ private police recognized by other LE agnecies within PA as legitimate agencies, and by the state itself as full fledged law enforcement agencies?

    Thanx in advance for any information.
    Last edited by bxhousing; 08-06-2008, 03:43 PM. Reason: ,

  • #2
    I know that SEPTA, Temple, UoP, and other colleges have their officers Act 120 certified. While they work for a private employer they are still certified police officers with all the same powers as other cops since Act 120 gives you statewide police powers.


    • #3
      I understand it as the powers are limited to the place of employment. Like for example Philadelphia Police would have Police Powers throughout PA the 501 limits the powers to just to the place they work such as the building or area specified.


      • #4
        From my understanding being Act 120 certified they are police officers with full powers. They can carry off duty and arrest someone off duty if needed. They have more arrest powers actually than the sheriff, which is different than most states where deputy sheriffs also have full police powers.

        While private police are police officers their number one mission is to protect their company's property. There is no special police academy for these private officers, they attend regular police academies. For example, SEPTA & Temple officers go to the Philly Academy.

        I know that municipal departments might say that an SEPTA officer does not qualify as a lateral hire. If you search in this forum, there was a SEPTA cop that tried to go to Upper Darby and was denied because they wanted somebody with 'regular' police experience. Many departments want ACT 120 only and don't care. I am not sure how it is in the whole country, but most college and transit departments cops I saw are certified police officers like any other police officer in that state.
        Last edited by Spartan75; 08-06-2008, 09:17 PM.


        • #5
          The law governing SEPTA police is as follows:

          "(a) General powers.—Railroad and street railway policemen shall severally possess and exercise all the powers of a police officer in the City of Philadelphia, in and upon, and in the immediate and adjacent vicinity of, the property of the corporate authority or elsewhere within this Commonwealth while engaged in the discharge of their duties in pursuit of railroad, street railway or transportation system business.

          (b) Detention of arrested persons.—The keepers of jails and other places of detention in any county of this Commonwealth shall receive all persons arrested by railroad or street railway policemen for purposes of detention until they are dealt with according to law.

          (c) Badge.—Railroad and street railway policemen when on duty shall wear or carry a metallic shield containing the words “railroad police” or “railway police” and the name of the authority.

          (d) Course of instruction.—Every railroad and street railway police officer shall successfully complete the same course of instruction required for municipal police officers by the act of June 18, 1974 (P.L. 359, No. 120), referred to as the Municipal Police Education and Training Law."

          Basically we have jurisdiction anywhere in PA as long as we are conducting transportation system business. We always had to be Act 120 certified, but finally came under MPOETC a couple of years ago. Everyone has a certification number. We also have to comply with the Act 180 yearly recertification. Our police commission comes from the Governor.

          Hope that helps,

          "Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability."

          "What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there..."


          • #6
            Check out the Municipal Police Jurisdiction Act.


            • #7
              Temple and Lincoln university are not private universities. They are state alligned universities and as such fall under MPO's jurisdiction.

              PPO's get their authority from the court of common pleas. The largest is Univ. Of Penn police. While PPO's are not required to have Act 120, they must have 235 in order to carry a weapon which can inflict deadly force.

              To add to the insane mix, go up to Hazelton or Scranton and they have coal cops. Coal cops may not carry guns off property.
              I don't answer recruitment messages....


              • #8
                Never heard of coal cops. I will have to ask my Uncle that lives up there about that. Funny.


                • #9
                  They fall under title 38. The largest of them was Bethlehem Steel. Here is a copy of the act.

                  38 P.S. §15. Weapons, when to be carried.
                  It shall be unlawful for any person employed as an industrial police to carry any firearm or other weapon except when on duty as such industrial police. All such weapons carried while on duty shall be left at the place of employment of such industrial police.

                  The term "industrial police," as used in this section, shall be construed to mean a police officer, or a person employed in any such capacity, for the protection of its property by the owner or operator of any colliery, furnace, rolling mill, water company, water supply company, water power company, electric light company, electric power company, electric transmission company, mineral, mining or quarrying company, or express company.

                  38 P.S. §16. Penalty for improper carrying of weapons.
                  Any person violating the provisions of this act shall, on summary conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and costs of prosecution, and in default of payment thereof, shall undergo imprisonment for not more than ten (10) days.
                  I don't answer recruitment messages....


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