The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws


Police Officers-Campus Special Police

College and University Campus Security Amendment Act of 1995
DC Law 11-63 DC Act 11-120

DC Law 23-582 Arrests without warrant by other persons

Note: This law was never codified. It was approved July 25, 1995, and is effective Oct. 18, 1995.

The Act provides a process for the D.C. Chief of Police, upon request by a college or university in DC, to appoint campus and university special police officers for duty in connection with the property of, or under the charge the college or university. Officer appointed under this law are subject to the Metropolitan Police Department rules insofar as they are applicable. Each appointment is made for a period of two years. Renewals of the commission for additional two-year periods may be made at the discretion of the Chief of Police.[1] The special officer's authority is confined to the place the officer is commissioned to protect, with an exception for situations involving fresh pursuit of a felon or misdemeanant from, or immediately adjacent to, the property or area to which he is commissioned to protect.

To qualify, one must be at least 21 years of age, a citizen of the U.S., of good moral character, and approved by the Chief of Police. In addition, the officer must receive one week of indoctrination training prior to performing any patrol duties and complete the Campus Law Enforcement Academy (250 hours) or an equivalent law enforcement academy within 2 years of receiving the commission. Previous law enforcement training may be substituted to meet these requirements. If firearms will be carried, the officer must complete a 56 hour firearms course.

Within 24 hours after the expiration or revocation of his/her commission or upon the termination of employment by the university, a special police officer shall deliver to the Chief of Police his/her commission.

Applications for the appointment of campus and university special officers shall be made jointly in the names of the prospective officers and the name of the university upon forms supplied by the Chief of Police.

There is an annual license (the Agency License) required for the university to operate its own police department. At CUA this license is renewed each November. Renewal application is made to the Special Officers Branch of the Metropolitan Police Department, the oversight agency within DC government for Public Safety.

Case Law
Jason Limpuangthip v. US, No. 05:CM-951 (District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Sept. 27, 2007)
This case involves a drug conviction and a search of a George Washington University campus dorm room, by a resident life official, where the campus police did not participate but were present at time of the search. No violation of the 4th Amendment. Good discussion of status of campus police for purpose of 4th Amendment, and when they are and are not agents of the state.

[1] Per the CUA Director of Public Safety, the following refinement to the Code exists: Each campus police officer is required to renew his or her license annually or bi-annually depending on whether or not they have completed the police training academy. That individual license is called a Special Police Commission. Renewal application is made to the Special Officers Branch of the Metropolitan Police Department. (this may be contained in the DCMR)

Updated 7.19.16 K.S.C.