1. #1
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    "Special Police" in Pennsylvania


    I was driving through PA not too long ago and spotted a white 1995 or 1996 Caprice. It had "Special Police" markings all over it (in blue stripes), an ALL BLUE light bar (no red at all) and a regular civilian license plate (not the white over blue municipal tag). The driver was not wearing any uniform at all.

    Was this just a security car from a gated community or something like that? I don't live in PA, but I know that all "real" police cars are supposed to have both red and blue lights and they'll be sporting the 'municipal government' plate on the back. Firefighters usually have blue lights on their personal cars, so maybe this guy was 'fire police' or something like that.

    Anyway, being from VA, seeing an "all blue" light bar made me look twice. Perhaps a "special police" officer in PA is just someone who has limited jurisdiction or arrest powers under certain circumstances......I don't know. Heck, maybe he was a constable or something.

    Last edited by VA Dutch; 09-02-2007 at 11:08 AM.

    The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

    The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

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  2. #2
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    Not sure whether it might be a nozzle whacker or not. Blue lights only in PA really don't mean anything. Blue lights do not make them an emergency vehicle as defined by the Vehicle Code.

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    I want to say that the term "Special Police" applies to legally incorporated corporations that by law may maintain their own private police, such as hospitals, schools, and such. Think chapters 22 (civil) and 51 (crimes) properly address this. Could also be a overzealous and misinformed security company (likely) who did not do research on terms and markings.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the information. The "all blue" light bar was my first clue that it was not a regular police vehicle (in addition to the fact that it was a 12-year-old car), and the civilian tag was pretty much a dead giveaway.

    Even so, I would say that such lighting and markings are really pushing the envelope. Most people would indeed believe it was a "full grown bear" belonging to a municipal law enforcement agency.

    As for security vehicles, shouldn't they use amber or yellow light bars rather than blue?

    Thanks again for the information, sir.



    The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

    The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

    ------------------------------------------------

    "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

  5. #5
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    This thread in ancient but Im replying to it because it still comes up in Google search for PA Special Police.

    You are all wrong!

    PA Speicial Police refers to Special Fire Police who are sworn law enforcment at the municipal level under the command of the police chief. They are volunteers who provide traffic and crowd control and security at a fire or accident scene.

    In some municipalities, there are also "Special Police" of the general municipality who serve the same function but seperate from the fire department.

    Special police are issued a badge of authority from the State and municipality but usually provide their own uniforms, vehicles and equipment. Though, some municipalities provide uniforms and equipment and I have seen at least one municipality owned vehicle, probably the one mentioed earlier in this thread.

    Next time try doing a simple google search before displaying your ignorance and belittling citizens who volunteer their own time and resources in the service of their comminitues.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystoneprocedural View Post
    This thread in ancient but Im replying to it because it still comes up in Google search for PA Special Police.

    You are all wrong!

    PA Speicial Police refers to Special Fire Police who are sworn law enforcment at the municipal level under the command of the police chief. They are volunteers who provide traffic and crowd control and security at a fire or accident scene.

    In some municipalities, there are also "Special Police" of the general municipality who serve the same function but seperate from the fire department.

    Special police are issued a badge of authority from the State and municipality but usually provide their own uniforms, vehicles and equipment. Though, some municipalities provide uniforms and equipment and I have seen at least one municipality owned vehicle, probably the one mentioed earlier in this thread.

    Next time try doing a simple google search before displaying your ignorance and belittling citizens who volunteer their own time and resources in the service of their comminitues.
    Well, in all my years as a Trooper, I must have had this all wrong. Here all along, I thought they acted on MY authority, but according to you, they are sworn law enforcement. Next time they ask me to come deal with an angry motorist or out of control person, I'll tell them "keystoneprocedural" from officer.com called me ignorant and I will try not to belittle them anymore when I tell them to handle it themselves. To hell with Title 18, Title 75 and Title 35. Who cares what the law says. Google is the end all, be all authority on Pa law.

  7. #7
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    To add:
    They are sworn by their township but their "fire-police" powers extend state wide. They're are assigned to numbered districts which covers several townships. Uniforms? I've seen some old school guys dressed in Blues during a parade detail, but most generally wear civilian clothes with a traffic vest. Lieutenants and Captains are allowed to run Red Lights with Opticons (changes traffic signals to green) so I've seen some stations with 1 Cap and 5 Louies so everybody gets red. Now, many troopers don't care about how many whacker lights because they usually call them for assists. They can whack it out with LED's from Code 3, Whelen adding dash lights, wig-wags, strobes and hideaways. But all in all, they have a good working relationship with Staties & Locals since they relieve the officers to continue on patrol. They are under control of either the Fire Chief or State Police/Locals
    Last edited by rick900; 05-20-2011 at 08:54 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystoneprocedural View Post
    Next time try doing a simple google search before displaying your ignorance and belittling citizens who volunteer their own time and resources in the service of their comminitues.
    Next time I arrest someone, I'll make sure to google the Title 18 section for the criminal complaint. As for the Fire/Police, they are a HUGE help for Troopers/Police Officers so I'm pretty sure we will never belittle them.
    Last edited by STLPenn34; 05-20-2011 at 10:59 PM.
    Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaRoadDawg View Post
    Well, in all my years as a Trooper, I must have had this all wrong. Here all along, I thought they acted on MY authority, but according to you, they are sworn law enforcement. Next time they ask me to come deal with an angry motorist or out of control person, I'll tell them "keystoneprocedural" from officer.com called me ignorant and I will try not to belittle them anymore when I tell them to handle it themselves. To hell with Title 18, Title 75 and Title 35. Who cares what the law says. Google is the end all, be all authority on Pa law.
    That's classic.

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