Controversy over program that gives security guards police powers on specific properties
Maryland, Baltimore 'Special Police' program gives security guards police powers - baltimoresun.com
The two men wore body armor with "POLICE" written across the chest and spilled out of their unmarked car, weapons drawn, ordering Christopher Dukes and his passenger out of their vehicle at a South Baltimore gas station parking lot. When Dukes pulled off, they embarked on a high-speed chase down Interstate 295 until catching up and placing the pair under arrest, charging documents show.
Then it was time for the real police to take over.
The men in the body armor were not Baltimore police officers or federal agents, but instead a little-known classification of security guards known as "special police," who are commissioned by the city or state to arrest and detain citizens — but only on specific properties.
For decades, they have added 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 some of the officers have also faced lawsuits and resident complaints, leading city police to re-evaluate whether to continue the program.