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Is it legal for a private security company to provide traffic control, as it does for the Catholic church on Eastwood Road?

Patrick Gannon

St. Mark Catholic Church and School recently hired Metro Special Police & Security Inc., of Charlotte, to provide traffic control on school day afternoons and for Saturday evening and Sunday morning church services.

Caleb Strittmatter, the church’s business manager, said many senior citizens attend the church and had expressed anxiety over trying to exit onto Eastwood Road.

Strittmatter said he used to pay off-duty Wilmington Police officers to direct traffic, but that the church relied on officers to volunteer to work weekends and that he couldn’t ensure that Wilmington officers would always be available.

“Having these folks, I’m guaranteed to have someone there on a daily basis,” Strittmatter said of Metro Special Police.

Generally, private agencies and company police departments are not permitted to control traffic on state-maintained roads. But there are exceptions, wrote Captain D. Faircloth, of Metro Special Police, in an e-mail.

Faircloth said the Wilmington Police Department issued Metro officers “traffic control officer cards,” giving them the authority to provide traffic control there. The traffic officers wear vests with the words “Traffic Control” to distinguish their role and authority, he said.

Faircloth also said the company met all requirements to obtain the special cards, including obtaining more than $1 million in insurance coverage, more than the $25,000 minimum required by law.

Faircloth went on to say that the Wilmington Police Department gave each Metro officer four hours of training.

“The city observed and conducted our training to ensure it was up to their standards,” Faircloth wrote.

Faircloth said disobeying a traffic control officer carries the same penalty as not obeying traffic orders given by a city police officer.

On the St. Mark’s property, Metro Special Police has full law enforcement authority and can pursue suspects in crimes committed on church property off of the property, Faircloth said.

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10 Responses to “ Is it legal for a private security company to provide traffic control, as it does for the Catholic church on Eastwood Road?”

  1. On June 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm Wayne williams wrote:

    I would rather hear the interpretation from the WIlmington chief of police.

  2. On January 26, 2012 at 12:09 am I know wrote:

    Metro employs very few police officers in Wilmington. The majority of their personnel are only armed security guards. They don’t have the power to arrest, only detain until a police officer can arrive. They try to act, dress and give rank as if they were actual police officers.

  3. On February 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm Brookes wrote:

    I’ve been given tickets by one of these guys. They try to act all rough and tough and be real cops but they definitely are not.

  4. On February 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm John wrote:

    I work in the mayfair area…

    I used to try and go through there before they had traffic control and there were accidents and it was a nightmare to get through there with that many people trying to get out on Eastwood Road..

    Since then I may have to wait a little bit to get through but at least I can do so safer than before.

    My friend who works with me complained about it one day and I told him he is better off rather than letting 200-300 people out on Eastwood and them trying to merge without assistance.

    Since Saint Marks is paying for it I really can’t complain. At least the City Police is not tied up doing this duty and can focus on their job.

    As for the other comments I don’t see what it has to do with the topic at hand but some people complain about anything.

  5. On March 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm Don wrote:

    They work my Community and have made a huge difference. We dont have nearly the crime nor the speeding problems we used to have. Whatever people may think of them they have made a difference where I live and I have been there for 12 years. With the city cops being tied up they have filled in the gap.

    They have always been very professional. I suspect some of the commentors where the problem since they got the ticket.

  6. On March 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm Dave wrote:

    I was broke down one night and several local officers passed by. One of their officers stopped and gave me a hand and even gave me a ride home.

  7. On March 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm Jason wrote:

    I wouldnt say the are a joke, their selection process is rather intense, I have been reading their selection process and considered applying. It will take me over 4 months to be sworn in and thats with me already having blet behind me. Thats assuming I am selected.

    Their job posting is without a doubt morr compex and intense than any I have done so far.

  8. On April 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm Neighbor wrote:

    I live in the community directly next to the Church and since they have been doing this I can honestly say its a major improvement. I had a lot of heart burn with the church before due to the traffic congestion when I was trying to leave and pick up my own kids. Now they are there it has greatly reduced the problems I have getting out onto Eastwood myself. I agree with other poster that its even better that they pay for the service themselves rather than the city footing the bill.

    Side note, just learned of myreporter site, very very cool!

  9. On April 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    MyReporter.com thanks you for the compliment!

  10. On June 16, 2013 at 2:12 am J eason wrote:

    Why do people talk [OFF-COLOR WORD DELETED] about security or special police unless they don’t care about people’s safety these guys are out there doing a job and most of them that are armed had to get BLET training to do the job just like the police do and at least theyre not sitting on their butts collecting welfare they are working for their money and doing a great job instead of complaining show them some respect you never know when you may need them to help you out

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