DC Proposes New Initial Special Police Officers Training Standards as Well as Yearly Recertification Training Standards.
After two deaths in the custody of special police officers last year, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier are proposing changes to require enhanced and increased training.
“We believe [those officers] were up to date on the requirements and we believe that they need to be updated,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference this afternoon. There are more than 17,000 licensed special police officers and security officers employed by more than 120 companies in the District of Columbia. Of those, 7,700 are special police officers who are currently awarded arrest powers after 40 hours of training; the remainder are security officers who have the power to detain suspects but not make arrests.
The administration and MPD are now proposing doubling the required initial training for special police officers to 80 hours and tripling the yearly recertification training from eight to 24 hours. Nearly 60 percent of special police officers are also licensed to carry firearms, and their yearly firearms training would be doubled from eight hours to 16 under the proposal. The new regulations will be submitted to the Council, likely after the summer recess ends.
Steve Maritas Organizing Director for the Law Enforcement Officers Security Unions (LEOSU-DC) welcomes the idea of the new proposed training standards by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier. Maritas stated ” being a special police officer in Washington DC and throughout the Capital Region has many risks. These DC Special Police Officers face unknown terrorist attacks on any giving day both domestic and abroad” look what happened to Stephen T. Johns who worked at the Holocaust who was gunned down senselessly, I personally knew Big John, I want to his funeral, he was our shop steward for the union at the time [ Gunman opens fires in Holocaust Memorial Museum] our LEOSU-DC union members as well as the 17,000 special police officers in Washington DC are on the front line each and everyday protecting our Homeland Security, any new proposal or legislation enhancing the training standards for Washington DC Special Police Officers or security officers is a step in the right direction” noted Maritas