Officials question security guards over traffic stops
July 17, 2013 12:07 AM | 2303 views | 6 6 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Associated Press

JOHNS CREEK — State investigators are looking into whether private security guards in upscale neighborhoods outside Atlanta are allowed to make traffic stops.

The investigation comes after WSB-TV reported on drivers being pulled over by security guards who are not police officers, but wear official-looking uniforms and drive vehicles with flashing lights.

The officers issue traffic tickets, with the money going to the homeowners associations in the gated communities.

Former police officer Bob Lowe said he was pulled over this year by a security guard in the St. Ives Country Club in Johns Creek. He filed a complaint with Georgia’s Board of Private Detectives and Security Agencies, which falls under the purview of the Georgia Secretary of State.

Such traffic stops have raised questions about safety, since real police officers often face hidden dangers when pulling over motorists.

A traffic stop “is the most dangerous situation that an officer can get themselves into,” said Ken Vance, director of Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.

As head of the state agency which certifies police officers, Vance has also written a letter to Georgia’s Secretary of State to express his concerns about the practice.

Vance cited “significant danger to the security officer” as well as “possible civil liberty violations” of the drivers.

“I want them to take a very serious look at it, and I think they will. I think it’s a dangerous practice,” Vance said.

An attorney for St. Marlo Country Club in south Forsyth County said in a statement to the Atlanta TV station that “traffic stops are voluntary” and the citation methods “are reasonable and do not violate public policy.”

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Cobb Resident
July 18, 2013
Two things FYI:

1) Are the roads dedicated? ie: relinquished to the County and kept in repair by them? If so the private guards would have no authorization to do any traffic stops on them.

2) The article says that such stopping is 'voluntary'. I would just not stop if I recognized them as private. If I did stop and then found they did not hold a commission, then I would just drive away.
July 18, 2013
If you think some Barrie Fife with a yellow light is going to pull me over; I will assume you are a car-jacker and will use stand your ground to defend myself. You state lawmaker better rain this in before we make the national news. It’s always about money and power to rip people off.
July 17, 2013
I smell an ulterior motive. The cops want to get rid of these security guards and do the job themselves on big bucks overtime.
security professiona
August 21, 2013
I agree Waldo
Bill N
July 17, 2013
Just what we need to hear this week; another story about security guards overstepping their bounds.

Seriously, though, a traffic ticket issued by real police officers is answerable in a real court. What authority was the ticket issued to Mr. Lowe answerable to -- St. Ives Country Club Kangaroo Court? You know where they can stick that ticket. Thank you, Mr. Lowe, for pursuing this.

Also, I object to irresponsibly quoting a statement by an unnamed attorney from a different country club that "traffic stops are voluntary." Most sane people would want to be careful about reacting that way to what they would probably assume in most cases is a police car.
It really is
July 17, 2013
Ken Vande reportedly says a traffic stop “is the most dangerous situation that an officer can get themselves into."

It most definitely is, but not for the reasons you are led to think.

THe huge danger is all the distracted "drivers" autopiloting their cars by at 50 MPH while a human being stands at the very edge of the road focusing ALL their attention on revenueing.

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