Off Duty Correctional Officer w/CCW arresting someone


JJ17

New member
As the title states, I am asking this because even this website constantly has questions like “what would you do if you where at the local gas station and a robber pulled out a gun to rob the store, and you had your concealed weapon on you?”
Both on the website, their Facebook page, YouTube, etc, I have seen those “what if” and “what would you do if...”

I believe (or want to believe) I would step in and help without hesitation, and working in law enforcement (Correctional Officer) it is kind of second nature. But as for arresting/detaining the suspect, I don’t know how that works as the law is written in a confusing way....As I don’t know if an off duty Corrections Officer in Colorado can legally arrest/detain someone who commits a serious crime in their presence. The statue and regulations appear to say “yes” but the Dept itself won’t answer it, as some dumb CO “played cop” a couple of years ago where he even put lights on his car and pulled people over! Dumb. So now they don’t like to talk about the subject, but the statue/regs seem to still say “yes” but they aren’t very clear.
Not talking about a “citizens arrest” (which can get tricky and even backfire on you legally, which SADLY is true) but rather if the Colorado law covers/allows an actual legal arrest/detainment until local police arrive.

NOTE: CO’s in Colorado are Peace Officer’s, with full arrest powers within the scope of their duties/employment, so basically only on State DOC property. ALSO everyone on graduation does swear an Oath. BUT.. the wording on the last section (below) seems to give limited off duty arrest powers.

HERE IS THE ACTUAL WORDING of Colorado law/statue/regs:

“It is the policy of the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) to ensure that DOC employees are properly designated as peace officers, receive appropriate training, and act within the scope of employment and in the performance of their duties as set forth in C.R.S __ and other applicable laws while protecting the constitutional rights of offenders AND CITIZENS. The purpose of this administrative regulation (AR) is to define and address the scope and authority associated with peace officers, and to ensure compliance with the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act – LEOSA”

A. “Scope of Authority and Guidelines for Peace Officers: Peace officers have the authority to enforce ALL the laws of the state of Colorado while acting within the scope of their employment and in the performance of their duties, pursuant to C.R.S. 16—- and other applicable laws. Certified peace officers, pursuant to C.R.S. are community PAROLE officers, criminal investigators, and the inspector general are required to be certified by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board; POST”.
^^^
The above makes it clear that Correctional Officer’s aren’t POST certified, while Parole offices/investigators in the Dept are, so it recognizes the difference, but still lumps us together as peace officers. We already known parole officers can make arrests while off duty, so this isn’t talking about parole officers. It simply lumps us all together as Peace Officer’s and goes on to say:

“Peace Officer: Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S..) peace officers shall include CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS; associate wardens; wardens; community parole officers; criminal investigators; the inspector general. A peace officer has, AT A MINIMUM, the authority to enforce ALL laws of the state of Colorado while acting within the scope of his/her authority and in the performance of his/her duties”.
^^^
So this one lumps parole offices and correctional officers, and even the IG all under Peace Officers. Performance of duties/employment can be semi-vague but we as CO’s know it means while on duty, or while on prison grounds.

b. “Stop and Question: While acting within the scope of his/her employment and in the performance of his/her duties, peace officers have the authority to stop any person, on or OFF state property, who may be reasonably suspected of having committed, committing, or intending to commit a crime and may.....” - - cut the rest out as this is already a long post.

2. ARREST AND DETAIN: While acting in the scope of his/her employment and in the performance of his/her duties, peace officers have the authority to arrest or cause to be arrested:

a. Any visitor on DOC property, who breaks the peace, has an outstanding arrest warrant, or is found upon said grounds violating any criminal law of this state and turn such person over to the inspector general or local law enforcement.
^^^^
Section A Is what gives CO’s their authority to do their job in Colorado, and uphold the law/keep the peace, including arresting civilians, but only on DOC property aka while at the Prison. So section A is different from many other State Correction’s - as many States do NOT give any arrest powers to their CO’s, even while on duty. Which is odd, but many states are like that. BUT - having arrest powers PERIOD, even if only on duty - does open the doors to possible limited arrest powers while OFF duty, as covered in the text below. Also it meets one of the requirements for LEOSA act/law: which is having any arrest powers.

b. “Any persons on and OFF state grounds when probably cause that the subject engaged in criminal activity directly connected to the security and safe operations of the DOC”

c. “Any individuals on or OFF state property who is directly observed committing or attempting to commit an offense, whether felony or misdemeanor, in his/her presence. Said authority exists REGARDLESS if on DOC property OR in another jurisdiction in the state of Colorado pursuant to C.R.S”
^^^^^
The last 2, section B and C are the biggest one. It says anyone, even if off State property and even if in another jurisdiction they can be arrested - but only if a serious crime such as a felony was committed in their presence. OR if someone makes a serious criminal threat towards the safety of any DOC prison, it seems to state they can be arrested/detained even off DOC property, in order to ensure the security of DOC. This one is kinda broad as normally “in the name of security” gives quite broad powers, I could see that one being abused to where jokes/something not serious could count, depending on the person.

So obviously this implies OFF Duty, as “OFF DOC property” and “in another jurisdiction” can ONLY mean off duty, it can’t mean anything else.
As any CO knows they on duty while on state property - the prison, and in their jurisdiction - which is also their prison they work at.
Unless I’m missing something, the above text seems to allow an off-duty Corrections Officer (at least in Colorado) aka a CO the legal authority to arrest someone if they witness a major crime, or rather a “misdemeanor or felony in their presence” to be exact.
Such as a USACARRY type example: an off duty CO is inside a gas station when someone comes in to rob it. The off duty CO pulls out his personal firearm and tells the suspect/criminal to put down the gun, and that he’s under arrest or rather Better wording would say being detained. Then off-duty CO calls the local police to come. The off duty CO may put cuffs on them (if any are around, or any type of restraints until local police arrive) and are TEMPORARILY acting as Police to stop an emergency situation, until the Police can arrive. If needed the CO could yell “Police” to the suspect (as in firearms training they said to simply say Police as it’s universal, not yell out your actual title) or simply “Peace Officer, drop the weapon!” or anything along those lines.

There was more text but I left some out, as this is very long post.... But: anyone who actually read that have input, or maybe someone who works as a CO and has the same powers as here in Colorado (or maybe you happen to work in Colorado also) know? Again the Dept just deflects these types of questions. I would like to know so maybe if I learn some new information. As anyone with a CCW obviously likes to be prepared even if the chances of needing their weapon is tiny. Now add working in law enforcement into that, and now only do you want to be prepared but also know legally speaking how it works in the rare chance you stepped in to stop a criminal.
 

XD40scinNC

New member
Is a corrections officer a sworn LEO? That appears to vary from state to state.

What about CO's that are employed by for profit prison corporations?
 

since9

New member
The answer

It's far more straightforward than your analysis seems to indicate. When in doubt, check the regulations.

Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 16 - Criminal Proceedings, Code of Criminal Procedure
Article 3 - Arrest - Searches and Seizures
Part 2 - Authority of Person Not a Peace Officer to Make an Arrest

16-3-201. Arrest by a private person. A person who is not a peace officer may arrest
another person when any crime has been or is being committed by the arrested person in the
presence of the person making the arrest.

Source: L. 72: R&RE, p. 199, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 39-3-201.

OBSERVATION: The private person making the arrest has to witness the commission of the crime.

The question then becomes, "What kind of force can you use to make the arrest?" That's covered by 18-1-707, "Use of physical force in making an arrest or in preventing an escape," and for us private persons, specifically, this paragraph:

(7) A private person acting on his own account is justified in using reasonable and appropriate physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to effect an arrest, or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person who has committed an offense in his presence; but he is justified in using deadly physical force for the purpose only when he reasonably believes it necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.

Pretty simple, huh? Just have to know where to look. :)
 

JJ17

New member
Part 2 - Authority of Person Not a Peace Officer to Make an Arrest

16-3-201. Arrest by a private person. A person who is not a peace officer may arrest
another person when any crime has been or is being committed...

Ha yes, knowing where to look helps - but here’s still the question: what is an off duty CO?
The difference does matter, legally speaking, and also unfortunately a private citizens arrest often can backfire when you try to help.
So that’s why I looked up Colorado law and Dept regs to check, just to see if in the rare chance a CO in Colorado steppped in to help, is he acting as a Peace Officer or a private citizen to stop a serious crime committed in his/her presence?
I know my post was long but the two quotes below are important:

According to Colorado revised statues quote “Peace Officer’s include Correctional Officer’s, wardens......”

And

One Section regarding Peace officer’s authority, for Department of Corrections Officer’s that seems to say that as a Peace Officer, if a serious crime happens outside the prison you can make an arrest, acting as a Peace Officer not a private citizen:

C. “Any individuals on or OFF state property who is directly observed committing or attempting to commit an offense, whether felony or misdemeanor, in his/her presence. Said authority exists REGARDLESS if on DOC property OR in another jurisdiction in the state of Colorado pursuant to C.R.S”

^^^^^
The above is not written for private citizens, as that’s word for word text from the Colorado Department of Correcfions themselves, under the Peace Officer section. It does say “off State property” and “authority exits regardless if on DOC property or another jurisdiction”.
As we are full blown Peace Officer’s while ON DUTY AND ON DOC PROPERTY.

But we aren’t while off duty/off State property. Yet the above quote says that even if off duty, a Peace Officer (a CO) can still arrest someone, while off State property, making a Peace Officer arrest, but ONLY if a serious crime and witnessed in his\her presence. So that means limited authority off prison grounds. I assume that section was written only for Emergency situations - such as someone starts to rob a store and assault people inside the gas starion, then we as CO’s, who are “trained” and work work in Law Enforcement field, I guess we temporarily can use our peace officer authority off duty - only if it’s to stop a crime - and only if we directly witness the crime.
Unless I’m missing something? Wish the Dept itself would try to answer it instead of staying away from the subject due to one person who acted way, way out bounds and was trying to play patrol cop.
 

since9

New member
That's a rather wordy way of saying what you already stated therein: "peace officers shall include CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS; associate wardens; wardens; community parole officers; criminal investigators; the inspector general."

Nothing more needs to be said, as the references I quoted still apply. Less is more.

In this case, however, I'll amend my references to include the authority of peace officers in making arrests:

16-3-102. Arrest by peace officer. (1) A peace officer may arrest a person when:
(a) He has a warrant commanding that such person be arrested; or
(b) Any crime has been or is being committed by such person in his presence; or
(c) He has probable cause to believe that an offense was committed and has probable
cause to believe that the offense was committed by the person to be arrested.

Here we see that 16-3-201 fits squarely within para (b) of 16-3-102. Specifically:

16-3-201. Arrest by a private person. A person who is not a peace officer may arrest
another person when any crime has been or is being committed by the arrested person in the
presence of the person making the arrest.

16-3-102 (b):Any crime has been or is being committed by such person in his presence

Thus, private citizens have the same arrest authority as peace officers who witness a crime. However, private citizens do not have arrest authority via warrant or probable cause.

I suspect the limits of a corrections office are identical.
 

JJ17

New member
Thank you, since9, I didn’t even realize it was the same arrests for a private citizen VS a Peace Officer, minus the probable cause or warrant. I skipped over the numbers thing lol.
BUT... Unfortunately a citizens arrest doesn’t work in many situations, and varies by local city. Some Police depts allow it, while others will charge the citizen for false imprisonment or impersonating a Peace Officer, even if the Private Citizen did the right thing! 100 years ago? Citizens arrest was no different than a Peace Officer arrest. Or 200+ years ago even more so. Nowadays citizens are taught (and the laws don’t help) only to dial 911 and back-off.

For Correctional Officer’s/CO’s in Colorado, it seems like it would be a Peace Officer arrest per the law, if the crime was committed in their presence OR if the person/suspect was somehow directly threatening any function of DOC.

As a warrant arrest would only apply while on DOC property, or in the super rare case you saw an inmate who was perhaps violating his parole, or an escapee, or something like that. Ultra rare though.

For probable cause, that’s a 50/50 for CO’s. It does state that if a CO off duty suspects anyone of “being a threat to the safety/security/operation of ANY DOC facility they can be stopped, patted down, asked for ID, and even arrested if needed” - which honestly the way that’s written I can see it being abused as that’s giving broad powers. Also how do you determine what is a threat to the “operations” of a DOC prison, besides someone making multiple verbal threats out-loud?? But thats probably why that authority power is hidden in 100 pages of regulations, to avoid abuse. But there “just in case”.
It also does states regarding regular arrests that if the DOC staff suspects a crime is about to be committed or strongly believes it was committed, they can legally detain them. I read that somewhere in the long long regulations.

I think I’ll ask the local sheriff dept what they would prefer, as don’t want any toes being stepped on. As we work closely with them providing then our K9 dogs if needed, or manpower for Search and rescue missions, to fight fires, etc. Too bad DOC themselves is too scared to answer that I gotta look it up online and ask the local sheriff or PD.
 

since9

New member
Thank you, since9, I didn’t even realize it was the same arrests for a private citizen VS a Peace Officer, minus the probable cause or warrant.

Bingo - you said it even better than I!

I skipped over the numbers thing lol.

No worries.

BUT... Unfortunately a citizens arrest doesn’t work in many situations, and varies by local city. Some Police depts allow it, while others will charge the citizen for false imprisonment or impersonating a Peace Officer, even if the Private Citizen did the right thing! 100 years ago? Citizens arrest was no different than a Peace Officer arrest. Or 200+ years ago even more so. Nowadays citizens are taught (and the laws don’t help) only to dial 911 and back-off.

Well, mudstream media, the liberals, and Democrats certainly push that narrative, don't they? Everything from TV shows and movies to their "first responder" crap definitively casts We the People as morons, despite the fact that we most certainly are not.

However, in most states, citizens have the authority to arrest a perpetrator on the spot if they witness the perp committing a felony. They must do it right then. If not, it falls into law enforcement territory. Furthermore, they also have the right to draw a loaded firearm, point it at the aforementioned perpetrator, tell them, "You're under arrest, sit down, shut up, and wait for the police," as well as shoot the perp if the perp launches an attack.

Now, by "most states" I mean at least 40 of them (80%). I have not accomplished a more precise count. Citizens arrest powers are respected in those states.

For Correctional Officer’s/CO’s in Colorado, it seems like it would be a Peace Officer arrest per the law, if the crime was committed in their presence OR if the person/suspect was somehow directly threatening any function of DOC. As a warrant arrest would only apply while on DOC property, or in the super rare case you saw an inmate who was perhaps violating his parole, or an escapee, or something like that. Ultra rare though.

CRS says correctional officers are peace officers with limited duties, meaning they don't serve warrants. From what I recall (I'm not diving back into the regs again - you're welcome to do so), they do have P.O.S.T. and authority to make probable cause determinations and act accordingly.

For probable cause, that’s a 50/50 for CO’s. It does state that if a CO off duty suspects anyone of “being a threat to the safety/security/operation of ANY DOC facility they can be stopped, patted down, asked for ID, and even arrested if needed” - which honestly the way that’s written I can see it being abused as that’s giving broad powers. Also how do you determine what is a threat to the “operations” of a DOC prison, besides someone making multiple verbal threats out-loud?? But thats probably why that authority power is hidden in 100 pages of regulations, to avoid abuse. But there “just in case”.
It also does states regarding regular arrests that if the DOC staff suspects a crime is about to be committed or strongly believes it was committed, they can legally detain them. I read that somewhere in the long long regulations.

I suspect the inclusion along probable cause lines was to afford correctional officers the authority to deter jailbreaks facilitated by non-interred persons, don't you? If so, I see no "broad powers," and can well imagine policy which makes it clear there're not to go on unpaid patrol in their home towns.

I think I’ll ask the local sheriff dept what they would prefer, as don’t want any toes being stepped on. As we work closely with them providing then our K9 dogs if needed, or manpower for Search and rescue missions, to fight fires, etc. Too bad DOC themselves is too scared to answer that I gotta look it up online and ask the local sheriff or PD.

Your last comment raises two pertinent questions:

1. What state are you in? If you're in Colorado, let's continue the discussing and definitively nail down the answer you seek.

2. What's your ultimate goal? Are you a CO looking to define your boundaries? Or are you a K9 provider looking to know the correctional officers' boundaries?

The thing about knowing the boundaries of either law enforcement or others is that while there's nothing wrong with knowing those boundaries, there's always a serious temptation to test those boundaries, and that's not a good at all, for the other individual might either not know their own boundaries as well as you, not care, or your testing ticks them off enough that they willingly cross it and put you in a world of hurt.

Better to steer well clear of any such conflict/confrontation.

Several years ago, after coming across a handful of overly-cocky local law enforcement who assured me they could and would arrest someone who did X when X was a perfectly lawful activity protected under CRS, I realized there was a knowledge gap. Did I go trolling for cops while committing X with cameras a-rollin'? No. I did not. First, I had a sit-down meeting with three officers at my local precinct, which confirmed my suspicions in a neutral, non-threatening environment. Next, I wrote a letter to the chief of police wherein I stated my concerns, cited the applicable law, and requested a review. I also included my own understanding, and suggested they change training to include X.

Two things happened:

1. They changed the General Orders to address X as lawful. I can only assume they circulated a memo to back that up, the same as we aviators are responsible for signing off on all "Read Files" involving policies and procedures.

2. The next revision of the county Sheriff's Concealed Handgun Permit Information Booklet specifically included X. That was nice to see, as it tells me the coordination between the police and sheriff's departments is high.
 

Anonymous

New member
I know this is an old thread, but I just came across it. I think there is something the original poster, and all subsequent replies, failed to recognize in the wording shared with us, which is that a CO in Colorado does indeed possess "the authority to enforce ALL laws of the state of Colorado while acting within the scope of his/her authority AND in the performance of his/her duties." So my question would be whether the scope of a CO's authority, AND the performance of their prescribed professional duties (ie maybe as would be found in a list of responsibilities in a job description, for instance), is to detain and arrest private citizens, while not on DOC property for an offense not relating to a DOC property. I fail to believe that the scope of a CO's authority, and the professional duties that they are expected to perform, is to arrest a private citizen who, for instance, gets into a verbal altercation in a bar, or steals something from a gas station. Beyond the legal authority and scope given to a citizen for the aforementioned "citizen's arrest." That is the key wording that was missed in all of this dissemination - scope of a CO'S authority (ie a DOC property and a DOC inmate), AND the performance of their job. That "and" is critical to recognize. It does not say "or," though even if it did, a private citizen not on DOC property would not be within the "scope of authority of the job duties."
 

New Threads

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
49,384
Messages
622,968
Members
74,197
Latest member
change4abetteryou
Top