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  • Jurisdiction

    I am a Federal Police Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, our property has concurrent jurisdiction with local authorities. I can only act in law enforcement capacity while on VA owned property. I work in a very dangerous city in Michigan and we have to go off property often to gas-up and what not. I often see city squad cars driving down the main road in front of my medical center. I can recall one night an officer conducted a traffic stop right across the street and it was a car full of hood-rats giving him lip service. I was just thinking of how if that officer needed assistance what would I do. I know what I would do however I would probably be looking for work soon after. Does anyone in the civilian law enforcement community have a problem with this double standard. That some how I can be expected to act as a law enforcement officer on Federal property but if an officer is getting his *** handed to him I would be violating policy by assisting therefore running the risk of getting fired. We are covered under HR218 however we cannot identify ourselves as LEO's unless asked by a LEO. I remember what an instructor told me at the academy do what you think your career can afford. Refering to that officer across the street getting a beat down or worse. I can only imagine what people would think of you if you did not act. So what would you do?
    "Protecting those who served"

  • #2
    I would find somewhere else to work...quickly
    The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

    "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

    "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

    Comment


    • #3
      764.15d Federal law enforcement officer; powers.

      Sec. 15d.

      (1) A federal law enforcement officer may enforce state law to the same extent as a state or local officer only if all of the following conditions are met:

      (a) The officer is authorized under federal law to arrest a person, with or without a warrant, for a violation of a federal statute.

      (b) The officer is authorized by federal law to carry a firearm in the performance of his or her duties.

      (c) One or more of the following apply:

      (i) The officer possesses a state warrant for the arrest of the person for the commission of a felony.

      (ii) The officer has received positive information from an authoritative source, in writing or by telegraph, telephone, teletype, radio, computer, or other means, that another federal law enforcement officer or a peace officer possesses a state warrant for the arrest of the person for the commission of a felony.

      (iii) The officer is participating in a joint investigation conducted by a federal agency and a state or local law enforcement agency.

      (iv) The officer is acting pursuant to the request of a state or local law enforcement officer or agency.

      (v) The officer is responding to an emergency.

      (2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3), a federal law enforcement officer who meets the requirements of subsection (1) has the privileges and immunities of a peace officer of this state.

      (3) This section does not impose liability upon or require indemnification by the state or a local unit of government for an act performed by a federal law enforcement officer under this section.

      (4) As used in this section:

      (a) “Emergency” means a sudden or unexpected circumstance that requires immediate action to protect the health, safety, welfare, or property of an individual from actual or threatened harm or from an unlawful act.

      (b) “Local unit of government” means a county, city, village, or township.

      History: Add. 1987, Act 256, Imd. Eff. Dec. 28, 1987 ;-- Am. 1999, Act 64, Eff. Oct. 1, 1999

      © 2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan
      "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." - Teddy Roosevelt

      Disclaimer: The opinions I express here are mine and mine alone. They are not intended to reflect the positions/opinions of any other known person(s) or organization(s).

      Comment


      • #4
        I would imagine that if you did act out to help a fellow brother in blue and ended up getting fired, another agency would quickly pick you up. But who knows. If I was in a situation and saw another officer getting beat, I wouldn't hesitate to help. I could not live with myself if that officer ended up dying or being seriously injured.

        I remember working as a MP with DOD civilian cops at an unnamed installation last year. They told me how insane their policies were. They once had a situation involving a county sheriff on a traffic stop 1-2 miles away from the main gate. Local authorities contacted the installation police to ask if they can backup the deputy since it turned into a shots fired call. His closest backup wasn't very close. Per policy, supervisor had to say no and the deputy ended up losing his life. I couldnt work for an agency like that and I couldn't imagine how it made surrounding agencies look at DOD cops.
        Last edited by tonysss; 08-31-2012, 04:58 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I understand Michigan will back me, however its against the VA's Policy so they could technically let me go if they chose too. However, I doubt they would want the bad publicity for firing a police officer who hopefully saved the day, and did not compound the situation and did not tarnish the VA's image, but they would not represent me if any civil or criminal charges were filed, unlike me performing my duties on VA property. Either way the instructors basically make it sound like its a gamble if you choose to intervene and I just feel that we already have to worry about enough as it is without adding undue stress of helping a citizen or fellow officer. I wont even get started on the fact that they want you to remove your magazine from your sidearm when going off station. (NO ONE FOLLOWS THAT POLICY THOUGH?)
          "Protecting those who served"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tonysss View Post
            They once had a situation involving a county sheriff on a traffic stop 1-2 miles away from the main gate. Local authorities contacted the installation police to ask if they can backup the deputy since it turned into a shots fired call. His closest backup wasn't very close. Per policy, supervisor had to say no and the deputy ended up losing his life. I couldnt work for an agency like that and I couldn't imagine how it made surrounding agencies look at DOD cops.
            Yeah I wouldn't be able to get over that if I were the guys on duty that night, these are the questions we brought up at the academy that the instructors tiptoed around or just qouted policy. Problem with the VA's policy is its run by Health Care Administrators. The VA Police fall under the VHA so the law enforcement is being controlled by people with no idea of what LEO deal with. The Director of the facility actually is the one who signs your credentials and gives you your arrest authority, its crazy but hey I live in Michigan where they are laying off cops all the time so I am thankful to have a secure job in a field that I have experience even with its flaws.
            "Protecting those who served"

            Comment


            • #7
              This is neither a new discussion topic nor one with easy answers. Just as noted for DoD/Military Police who are subject to a finite jurisdiction, so too are the vast majority of other Federal LEO’s. While the agency can and in some cases have let an officer/agent go for overstepping the limits of their respective jurisdiction, it all boils down to the particular circumstances in each case.

              Could there be adverse consequences should you step off VA property to come to the aid of the local cop? Certainly. Aside from what the VA could do, you would also be potentially liable under the tort laws as your actions could be viewed as outside the scope of your government duties. Sounds silly that be rendering aid to another cop or preventing some heinous crime that you witness while gassing up the cruiser that you could not only be fired but sued; but alas this is the reality of the world.

              I and quite a few of my fellow members here appreciate the issues you are facing. It is truly a conundrum that tears at the cop in you; we understand completely. You are hired on and trained as a cop. You are expected to be a cop, but only for the duration of your apportioned shift. You are then expected to divest yourself of that training and the moral responsibility to be the cop that you are.

              In the end it will be your decision to make.
              Originally posted by SSD
              It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603
              And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

              Comment


              • #8
                There's no easy answers, and its not just Feds that run into the issue. Our school police are full police officers, but apparently like the VA, their management treats them like security guards. Years ago I had one follow a hit and run suspect while in a fully marked car and just "observe and report" until the guy got out and took off on foot. Never lit them up, etc. Not knocking the officer, she was doing what she could in the confines of what her bosses said.

                Ultimately its a decision you have to make, and if the strain is more than you can bare its time to start sending out resumes and looking for a department that's a better fit for you.
                I miss you, Dave.
                http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

                Comment


                • #9
                  Somewhat unfortunately, we live in an age where the policy wonks, attorneys, bean counters, etc, are in charge. Equally unfortunately, quite often these people are members of the "Perfect World Society", and have ZERO idea of what the real world is like.

                  These people can and often do, adversely effect the careers of LE Officers. At the end of the day I guess you make a choice of what you can justifiably live with. Your conscience or agency policy.

                  We can't make that call for you. That said, you really shouldn't have to be concerned that assisting another might cost you your job. If you are, it could be time to begin looking for another one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Actually I have the exact opposite situation.

                    I am a fully trained and certified state of Iowa LEO...............who let his certification go into inactive status

                    I spent 30 yrs working in Corrections before retiring and now work in a non sworn position with my local Sheriff's Office. I am however FULLY uniformed in a Sheriff's Deputy uniform, (Court Security badge) gun/taser, and ballistic vest.

                    I often travel in marked patrol vehicles when transporting prisoners all over the state (and into neighboring states)

                    The bottom line is -----------------and I have thought this out carefully--------------is that if I see an officer needing assistance, I am going to be there for my brother. Whatever comes from it afterwards will happen. I am positive my boss will back me up in the long run.

                    That is my position on the matter................................realizing the implications of my actions could be "uncomfortable"

                    To the OP:
                    Your mileage will vary since your boss won't back you................It sucks

                    It's a decision only you can make when the time comes & given the exact set of circumstances involved
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


                    (F*** Off Cuz Ur Stupid)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by V286 View Post
                      So what would you do?
                      Short answer.....Put applications in with as many local agencies you can and get out of there!

                      I know it's easy to say, but everybody's circumstances are different, so not knowing yours, I don't know if that is much of an answer. I will say I could never work for an agency that restricted my ability to help a fellow LEO out. However, when you took the job you should have known the restrictions most Fed LEOs face. A lot of Fed "police" agencies have territorial or proprietary jurisdiction only. In your case it's VA property only, with that said, if you choose to be employed by the VA you have to abide by their rules, whether you like it or not.

                      I worked in an area that had a VA facility when I first got on with my agency. I would see them from time to time off property; I figured they were getting gas or en-route to check another property somewhere else. I never gave much thought about them backing me up or helping me out if I needed something, but I know for dam sure if I was near the facility and observed them needing assistance, I would have not hesitated to act. Maybe the VA would have had a beef with coming on property and taking care business, but I don't work for them and in the end I doubt my agency would have had an issue with me assisting a uniformed LEO in need of aid.

                      Good luck with whatever you decide.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Pasting this from another discussion, but given that it applies directly to the subject at hand; here it is.
                        Even seemingly broad scope LEOs with the Fed are subject to statutory (and policy) limitations as to what laws they can enforce and where.

                        On the same topic, while there have been several opines from various state Attorney Generals that say a federal officer/agent “may” enforce the law outside of their respective jurisdiction, that in and of itself does not insulate the officer/agent from potential liability under the criminal statutes or from tort suits. Further, it does not impact the respective agencies policies. Good Samaritan protections aside, if you act under “color of law”; as you would be in this context, you would not be covered if your acts (or those of the officer you came to the aid of) were found to be at fault.
                        Originally posted by SSD
                        It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                        Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                        And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

                        Comment

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