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Washington, DC, the U.S. capital, is a compact city on the Potomac River, bordering the states of Maryland and Virginia. It’s defined by imposing neoclassical monuments and buildings – including the iconic ones that house the federal government’s 3 branches: the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court. It's also home to iconic museums and performing-arts venues such as the Kennedy Center.
In United States terminology, special police can mean:
Auxiliary police, members of volunteer, unpaid or paid, part-time civilian police, security officer units, interns;
Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT);
Security police; or
Special Law Enforcement Officers/ Special Jurisdiction Law Enforcement – used in New Jersey to supplement full-time police officers;
The term can also refer to limited police power granted in some jurisdictions to lifeguards, SPCA personnel, teachers, and other public sector employees which is incidental to their main responsibilities. Special Police Officers (or SPOs) can be employed to protect large campuses such as theme parks, hospital centers, and commerce centers.
Some states, such as Maryland, New York, and the District of Columbia, grant full State Police/peace officer authority to SPOs for use in whatever area they are employed to protect. They can make traffic stops in their jurisdiction if they have had accredited training. They are also permitted to conduct traffic control and investigations pertaining to the area protected by them, while a majority of SPOs are armed with a firearm, some states permit the age for an SPO to be 18, while still they can not carry a sidearm. Special police can make a criminal arrest and run blue strobe lights on their vehicle.
Smithsonian Museum Special Police in NY, Virginia, & DC
The Smithsonian museum utilizes federal employees designated as "special police" under the United States Code (Title 10, Chapter 63, §6306). These officers patrol Smithsonian property in New York, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Smithsonian Special Police Officers carry firearms, mace and handcuffs and have arrest authority on federal Smithsonian property.
District of Columbia utilizes special police in both the public and private security sectors. Most work for private security companies although many security officers in the Washington, D.C., area also have special police status. Special police are required to be licensed and are appointed by the Mayor.