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  • community corrections officers

    I understand that CCO’s are limited authority peace officers but how far do those limits go ? For example if a felony is being taken place in front of a CCO while in the performance of his/her duties can the CCO do something about it and arrest them ?

    I also have another side question in regards to CCO’s wearing vest saying “police” on them. The word is universal which make sense why many other different kinds of LEO’s present themselves as such. But can CCO’s really do that In the state of Washington. State parole in California can so why not CCO’s?

  • #2
    It depends on what authority your state and director want to give you. Here in MD community corrections have the same authority as a campus cop or special police. They only have arrest powers on any property own or lease by the state. Also, when they are out in the streets checking up on inmates, they only have authority over the inmate, his or her property and the area where he or she sleeps.

    Most of the times they work with local police when making home visits, the cops can only go on by the plain view doctrine when assisting community corrections. 4thA stuff.

    Like I said, it depends on your state and bosses.
    Last edited by 1RidgeRunner7; 02-02-2019, 06:44 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post
      I understand that CCO’s are limited authority peace officers but how far do those limits go ? For example if a felony is being taken place in front of a CCO while in the performance of his/her duties can the CCO do something about it and arrest them ?

      I also have another side question in regards to CCO’s wearing vest saying “police” on them. The word is universal which make sense why many other different kinds of LEO’s present themselves as such. But can CCO’s really do that In the state of Washington. State parole in California can so why not CCO’s?
      The limited authority of a CCO in WA only extends to those supervised by DOC. Two "regular citizens" committing a felony in front of them and the CCO will have to call 911.

      Limited authority agencies in WA have really been trying to gain full/general law enforcement authority for about 10 years now but each time it doesn't gain enough steam in the legislature mainly because the powerful WA Assoc. of Police Chiefs and Sheriff's (WASPC) is against the move. State Parks, Liquor & Cannabis Board, and the Dept. of Natural Resources have all tried pushing bills lifting them to general authority but they never pass.

      Within the past few years the legislature has passed a bill that did clarify/expand the authority of State Parks Rangers, but not to full statewide general LE authority. The legislature also passed bills for State Parks and the Gambling Commission which basically says if physical injury to a person or substantial property damage is about to occur the State Parks/Gambling Commission officer may take action to stop the injury and will be immune from civil liability.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wildlife97 View Post

        The limited authority of a CCO in WA only extends to those supervised by DOC. Two "regular citizens" committing a felony in front of them and the CCO will have to call 911.

        Limited authority agencies in WA have really been trying to gain full/general law enforcement authority for about 10 years now but each time it doesn't gain enough steam in the legislature mainly because the powerful WA Assoc. of Police Chiefs and Sheriff's (WASPC) is against the move. State Parks, Liquor & Cannabis Board, and the Dept. of Natural Resources have all tried pushing bills lifting them to general authority but they never pass.

        Within the past few years the legislature has passed a bill that did clarify/expand the authority of State Parks Rangers, but not to full statewide general LE authority. The legislature also passed bills for State Parks and the Gambling Commission which basically says if physical injury to a person or substantial property damage is about to occur the State Parks/Gambling Commission officer may take action to stop the injury and will be immune from civil liability.
        That’s really unfortunate to hear. Why is the state so picky about who can have general authority or not. Every limited Leo is at risk in the field just like every general authority Leo so it seems unreasonable to not have the authority to be able to stop crimes in front of you while conducting the duties described by the agency. I heard fish and wildlife wasn’t always general authority so how come they get the pass ? I feel reluctant to try to be a community corrections officer in this state as a result.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post

          That’s really unfortunate to hear. Why is the state so picky about who can have general authority or not. Every limited Leo is at risk in the field just like every general authority Leo so it seems unreasonable to not have the authority to be able to stop crimes in front of you while conducting the duties described by the agency. I heard fish and wildlife wasn’t always general authority so how come they get the pass ? I feel reluctant to try to be a community corrections officer in this state as a result.
          The state is so picky is because WASPC is a powerful group.

          You are right about Fish & Wildlife. Prior to 1985 they could only enforce natural resource laws. Then a law was passed so officers could enforce all state laws "while in the performance of their fish and wildlife duties". So as an example prior to 1985 if a Wildlife Officer contacted a fisherman with meth they'd have to contact a deputy, after 1985 they could handle the meth case on their own. Of course the "in the performance of their duty" part muddied the waters. If a guy was fishing and had meth they could arrest him, but what if the officer went down to the riverbank to check fishermen but they found a guy smoking meth but wasn't fishing? In reality this expanded their authority but threw in more questions.

          In 2002 the legislature granted WDFW with full/general law enforcement authority. Interesting thing is that WASPC actually was in favor of this bill, however 10 years later they are against DNR, LCB, and State Parks from taking the same steps. WDFW basically came out saying hey you said we can enforce all laws but the waters are muddied on when we can and can't enforce all laws, so just grant us general authority.

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          • #6
            I am guessing that It probably has more to do with training and certification of the officers. In WA, the state has requirements for certification, when you go from a limited commission (lots of restrictions-normally only to do with job tasks or job area), to a full commission, you have to go to a state approved academy, and many of the agencies don't do that- or want the requirements that go along with certification. Many of the jobs (not all) are administrative in nature, so they wouldn't necessarily be arresting people anyways, nor would you want to add that to the list just for a "could be" scenario. All of the jobs has a "if someone is getting hurt..." protection, but they also remind their people to stay focused on what their jobs really are.

            The other downside is, that if they get involved with something that they don't regularly train for, it leaves the agency in a bind for failure to train. No simple answer for this. If you want to arrest non DOC people, be a cop.

            Regarding the Police markings, that is up to the agency to enforce their uniform standards. I agree that it may create a confusion, but that is on them to accept responsibility to what they let their people wear.
            I don't check to see if the glass is half full, I make sure its not dirty.

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