Enforcing laws on Federal property | MassCops

Enforcing laws on Federal property

Discussion in 'Federal Agencies' started by JamnJim18, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. JamnJim18

    JamnJim18 Guest

    Question of the day -

    You are a local or state law enforcement officer and you are on patrol and happen to come upon a B & E in progress at your local post office. Do you have the authority to enforce any laws, misdemeanor or felony on federal property and make an arrest? If so, please cite/reference the law showing such authority.

    Also, if you do have the authority, which court would summons the offender to? District or Federal?

  2. USM C-2

    USM C-2 MassCops Member

    In general, your law that gives you your authority sets forth your jurisdiction, i.e., within the city limits, etc. That law has no limitations on your authority on federal property.

    Federal laws do not prohibit concurrent jurisdiction. In Mass. I was never aware of any laws restricting that sort of activity at either the state or local level. Here in Mississippi, state universities *DO* have a law stating that only their board can enforce laws on their campussessess..... campi? In other words, city ordinances cannot be enforced on our campus, even though it is within the city limits. Even the jurisdiction of the city court does not cover campus, we have to go to county justice court.

    So, bottom line is the post office (which may be a contract office, not even on federal property) is subject to the jurisdiction wherein it lies. Our campus is large enough to have its own zip code and its own post office, even though the building its in is a state-owned campus building.

    Remember, your authority extends to violations for which you have authority... Mass. officers can enforce MGL in general, unless the law specifies an enforcement authority and limits enforcement to that particular agency. In addition, local officers can enforce local bylaws or ordinances.

    Federal laws? Your report writing room has no federal arraignment forms, nor are your officers listed in the federal laws as having the authority to enforce them. It is similar to arresting someone for being wanted on a felony warrant in another state. You don't arrest them for armed robbery in Nevada, citing a Nevada law... you arrest them for the MGL charge of Fugitive From Justice, which is a Mass. offense, chargeable by a Mass. officer, and arraignable in a Mass. court.

    The situation may be different on a military base that may lie partly or wholly within a city... never dealt with that.
  3. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    Social Security Offices, at least the one we have. Back when they hired a police detail (before some genius decided that hiring armed security at a greater cost was a better idea), we had a detail there every day, and we cleaned what we caught. The FPS used to send an officer down once in a great while to check on things, but even that stopped eventually, and we still answer all alarm/disorder calls there.

    To the OP: I've made several arrests at the Quincy Center Post Office, and it's never been an issue. The only places I know of with exclusive federal jurisdiction are some federal office buildings and military bases.
  4. Tuna

    Tuna Always entertained

    All MEP officers are cross deputized with Fed Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries and US Customs. Never had any trouble enforcing Fed or State Law on their property, their waters or ours.
  5. JamnJim18

    JamnJim18 Guest

    Wouldn't all the MEP officers need is the high sheriff himself to deputize them to patrol the waterways? :smoke:
  6. Deuce

    Deuce screw you...

    The social security office here still has detail officers. We also respond to all the post offices for minor investigations and disturbances. We handle recruiting offices too. I've never heard of the need, but I imagine we'd handle the armories/military facilities too.

    I thought MSP handled Westover ARB and Devens?
  7. mpd61

    mpd61 Retired Fed, Active Special

    MSP is pretty much everywhere like Otis too, However, Westover and Devens do both have DoD civilian cops. Westover also has MP's in house.
  8. CJIS

    CJIS MassCops Member

    This turned out to be a pretty productive and informative thread.
  9. JamnJim18

    JamnJim18 Guest

    Yes it has been. This all started as a discussion between myself and a co-worker and couldn't figure out what the correct answer would be. Thank you to everyone that has participated so far!
  10. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    Are they cross-deputized as EPO's?

    ---------- Post added at 01:56 ---------- Previous post was at 01:51 ----------

    As I said, some genius (who no doubt has a financial interest) decided that hiring armed security with no police powers, that costs more than a detail officer, was a better idea.

    We handle all non-federal issues at the the post offices (disorders, drunk bums, etc.) but anything involving the mail (loss/theft, etc.) or the employees (theft, drug use, etc.) is handled by the Postal Inspectors. We do take the alarms at NG armories, but I can't remember anyone ever making an arrest at one.

    Westover AFB is exclusive federal jurisdiction, and while MSP covers *Devens* (the residential/commercial development), *Fort Devens* (the military installation) is exclusive federal jurisdiction with Department of the Army Police assigned there.
  11. Tuna

    Tuna Always entertained

    I've seen MSP, civilian LEO (at the range gate) and MPs at Devens.

    ---------- Post added at 04:57 ---------- Previous post was at 04:54 ----------

    Sorry Delta, not sure how I did this format (or didn't) but my comments are in the text
  12. USM C-2

    USM C-2 MassCops Member

    Yup, interesting thread. Our Post Office is in one of our buildings... we own it, and have the keys. In fact, during holiday break our officers are unlocking the doors so box holders can get their mail daily. I know we have worked thefts there, even felony level ones. Whether that went beyond taking an initial report and tossing it to Postal Inspectors or not I don't know, but it sure could have.
  13. FAPD

    FAPD MassCops Member

    So is Natick exclusive or concurrent?
  14. Inspector71

    Inspector71 Duke of Campus Police

    What a wise guy!
  15. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    I don't know about others, but when I was in the Guard, we stored all the bolt assemblies for our weapons at the local PD's armory, so even if someone was able to steal an M-16 or M-60, they would be useless.
  16. militia_man

    militia_man MassCops Member

    I think all of the military bases in Massachusetts have invited either local or state police to either share or handle the majority of law enforcement on base. The bases have their own police patrols, but most of them want civilian police agencies to take things over after the military provides an initial response. For example, a few years ago Hanscom Air Force Base decided to have local police respond to domestics in base housing and handle any arrests to be made after the base police responded and restored the peace. In my opinion, that is just wrong. You catch it, you clean it. That would be like responding mutual aid to another town and them cuffing up the suspect and handing them off to you, so you can handle the paperwork for them. Being tied up with handling a mess of a domestic dispute on Hanscom can be a huge burden to the local police who probably only have two or three officers on the road to begin with. OUI incidents are another example. Would you want to take over an OUI and do all the paperwork after another police agency stopped them and called you to handle it?

    Otis/Massachusetts Military Reservation is another example. The Air Force has military police patrols (Air Force Security Forces) that patrol most of the MMR, even the Coast Guard Housing area. But the state police are the primary police force on the base and handle all of the arrests. I think the military should handle it's own business and stop being a burden to outside police agencies unless they start footing the bill for additional patrols.
  17. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    When the South Weymouth Naval Air Station was open, we had some of the off-post base housing, and responded to all calls for service to that area. The only time the Navy got involved was if we needed the male (almost always the sailor) to leave the house for the night at a domestic; the Officer of the Day would respond and him order him off the property (which was extremely useful).

    I wouldn't; as soon as you turn the blue lights on, you own them.

    MMR is a different animal, since it's state property to begin with.
  18. sdb29

    sdb29 MassCops Member

    Which causes me to ask two questions:
    1) do the Feds have domestic violence law of their own that they can arrest on if necessary, and if so do they also have a Fed version of a 209a, and
    2) If not, can a Base cop employed and sworn by the feds make arrests for offenses, charge under MGL and call the oncall judge for an Emergency 209a, or can a Fed uniformed cop only enforce Federal Law?
  19. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    Federal law enforcement can prosecute state offenses in federal court under the Assimilated Crimes Act, provided the offenses happened on federal property.
  20. militia_man

    militia_man MassCops Member

    1. Ditto for what Delta said.

    2. At Hanscom the base police are military personnel and as of a few years ago if someone needed an emergency 209A they were referred to the local police. But I don't see why the military authorities wouldn't be able to do it on their own if they chose to. After all, they would just be communicating an order from a judge. The reason that they don't do it is probably just a matter of commanders not understanding the process and/or not wanting anything to do with it. To me that is like a local PD saying to a resident, "Sorry, we don't do that here. Go to the PD in the next town".
  21. sdb29

    sdb29 MassCops Member

    Thanks for the info. We never see uniformed fed police down here- we deal with the ATF and DEA all day all night but uniformed Fed police is a new one to me.
  22. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    We don't really deal with uniformed feds much, either....the Federal Protective Service (FPS) once in awhile on the day shift. I only knew about the Assimilated Crimes Act because one of my best friends is FPS, and he told me about it.
  23. mpd61

    mpd61 Retired Fed, Active Special


    Right on Delta! 18 USC 13, It's what I used decades ago at the VA on Violation Notices (CVN) to enforce Traffic and/or criminal on VA Grounds. The hearings would be before a U.S. magistrate in Boston. (McCormick BLDG)
  24. Killjoy

    Killjoy Zombie Hunter

    DOD police on Westover have an agreement with the MSP to provide most police services. DOD police would usually detain a suspect and contact the local barracks to send a Trooper, if they needed arrests/summons. I booked a couple of OUIs and issued some 90-10/90-23 summons on base many moons ago.
  25. OfficerObie59

    OfficerObie59 Public Trough Feeder


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