Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
6/17/2019

Chapter 2. Conservators of the Peace and Special Policemen.

Article 1. Appointment.

§ 19.2-12. Who are conservators of the peace.

Every judge and attorney for the Commonwealth throughout the Commonwealth and every magistrate within the geographical area for which he is appointed or elected, shall be a conservator of the peace. In addition, every commissioner in chancery, while sitting as such commissioner; any special agent or law-enforcement officer of the United States Department of Justice, National Marine Fisheries Service of the United States Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of State, Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Interior; any inspector, law-enforcement official or police personnel of the United States Postal Service; any United States marshal or deputy United States marshal whose duties involve the enforcement of the criminal laws of the United States; any officer of the Virginia Marine Police; any criminal investigator of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, who meets the minimum law-enforcement training requirements established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services for in-service training; any criminal investigator of the United States Department of Labor; any special agent of the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service, any special agent of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and any sworn municipal park ranger, who has completed all requirements under § 15.2-1706; any investigator employed by an attorney for the Commonwealth, who within 10 years immediately prior to being employed by the attorney for the Commonwealth was an active law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101 in the Commonwealth and retired or resigned from his position as a law-enforcement officer in good standing, shall be a conservator of the peace, while engaged in the performance of their official duties.

Code 1950, § 19.1-20; 1960, c. 366; 1968, c. 639; 1972, c. 549; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 697; 1981, cc. 572, 587; 1990, c. 558; 1991, cc. 74, 338; 1994, cc. 375, 569, 626; 1997, c. 34; 2001, cc. 3, 31; 2002, cc. 86, 605, 789; 2004, c. 1009; 2005, c. 372; 2006, c. 88; 2007, c. 224; 2015, cc. 75, 126; 2017, c. 674.

§ 19.2-13. Special conservators of the peace; authority; jurisdiction; registration; liability of employers; penalty; report.

A. Upon the submission of an application, which shall include the results of the background investigation conducted pursuant to subsection C, from (i) any sheriff or chief of police of any county, city, or town; (ii) any corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth; (iii) the owner, proprietor, or authorized custodian of any place within the Commonwealth; or (iv) any museum owned and managed by the Commonwealth, a circuit court judge of any county or city shall appoint special conservators of the peace who shall serve as such for such length of time as the court may designate, but not exceeding four years under any one appointment, during which time the court shall retain jurisdiction over the appointment order, upon a showing by the applicant of a necessity for the security of property or the peace and presentation of evidence that the person or persons to be appointed as a special conservator of the peace possess a valid registration issued by the Department of Criminal Justice Services in accordance with the provisions of subsection C. Upon an application made pursuant to clause (ii), (iii), or (iv), the court shall, prior to entering the order of appointment, transmit a copy of the application to the local attorney for the Commonwealth and the local sheriff or chief of police who may submit to the court a sworn, written statement indicating whether the order of appointment should be granted. However, a judge may deny the appointment for good cause, and shall state the specific reasons for the denial in writing in the order denying the appointment. A judge also may revoke the appointment order for good cause shown, upon the filing of a sworn petition by the attorney for the Commonwealth, sheriff, or chief of police for any locality in which the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve or by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. Prior to revocation, a hearing shall be set and the special conservator of the peace shall be given notice and the opportunity to be heard. The judge may temporarily suspend the appointment pending the hearing for good cause shown. A hearing on the petition shall be heard by the court as soon as practicable. If the appointment order is suspended or revoked, the clerk of court shall notify the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Department of State Police, the applicable local law-enforcement agencies in all cities and counties where the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve, and the employer of the special conservator of the peace.

The order of appointment shall provide that a special conservator of the peace may perform only the duties for which he is qualified by training as established by the Criminal Justice Services Board. The order of appointment shall provide that such duties shall be exercised only within geographical limitations specified by the court, which shall be within the confines of the county, city or town that makes application or on the real property where the corporate applicant is located, or any real property contiguous to such real property, limited, except as provided in subsection F, to the city or county wherein application has been made, and only when such special conservator of the peace is engaged in the performance of his duties as such; however, a court may, in its discretion, specify in the order of appointment additional jurisdictions in which a special conservator of the peace employed by the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Commission or the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority may exercise his duties. The order may provide that the special conservator of the peace shall have the authority to make an arrest outside of such geographical limitations if the arrest results from a close pursuit that was initiated when the special conservator of the peace was within the confines of the area wherein he has been authorized to have the powers and authority of a special conservator of the peace; the order shall further delineate a geographical limitation or distance beyond which the special conservator of the peace may not effectuate such an arrest that follows from a close pursuit. The order shall require the special conservator of the peace to comply with the provisions of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Virginia. The order shall not identify the special conservator of the peace as a law-enforcement officer pursuant to § 9.1-101. The order may provide, however, that the special conservator of the peace is a "law-enforcement officer" for the purposes of Article 4 (§ 37.2-808 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 37.2 or Article 16 (§ 16.1-335 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1, but such designation shall not qualify the special conservator of the peace as a "qualified law-enforcement officer" or "qualified retired law-enforcement officer" within the meaning of the federal Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 926(B) et seq., and the order of appointment shall specifically state this. The order may also provide that a special conservator of the peace who has completed the minimum training standards established by the Criminal Justice Services Board, has the authority to affect arrests, using up to the same amount of force as would be allowed to a law-enforcement officer employed by the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions when making a lawful arrest. The order shall prohibit blue flashing lights, but upon request and for good cause shown may provide that the special conservator of the peace may use flashing lights and sirens on any vehicle used by the special conservator of the peace when he is in the performance of his duties. Prior to granting an application for appointment, the circuit court shall ensure that the applicant has met the registration requirements established by the Criminal Justice Services Board.

B. All applications and orders for appointments of special conservators of the peace shall be submitted on forms developed by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia in consultation with the Department of Criminal Justice Services and shall specify the duties for which the applicant is qualified. The applications and orders shall specify the geographic limitations consistent with subsection A.

C. No person shall seek appointment as a special conservator of the peace from a circuit court judge without possessing a valid registration issued by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, except as provided in this section. Applicants for registration may submit an application on or after January 1, 2004. A temporary registration may be issued in accordance with regulations established by the Criminal Justice Services Board while awaiting the results of a state and national fingerprint search. However, no person shall be issued a valid registration or temporary registration until he has (i) complied with, or been exempted from the compulsory minimum training standards as set forth in this section; (ii) submitted his fingerprints on a form provided by the Department to be used for the conduct of a national criminal records search and a Virginia criminal history records search; (iii) submitted the results of a background investigation, performed by any state or local law-enforcement agency, which may, at its discretion, charge a reasonable fee to the applicant and which shall include a review of the applicant's criminal history records and may include a review of the applicant's school records, employment records, or interviews with persons possessing general knowledge of the applicant's character and fitness for such appointment; and (iv) met all other requirements of this article and Board regulations. No person with a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor involving (a) moral turpitude, (b) assault and battery, (c) damage to real or personal property, (d) controlled substances or imitation controlled substances as defined in Article 1 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2, (e) prohibited sexual behavior as described in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2, or (f) firearms, or any felony, or who is required to register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.) of Title 9.1, or who is prohibited from possessing, transporting, or purchasing a firearm shall be eligible for registration or appointment as a special conservator of the peace. A special conservator of the peace shall report if he is arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any misdemeanor or felony offense or becomes ineligible for registration or appointment as a special conservator of the peace pursuant to this subsection to the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the chief law-enforcement officer of all localities in which he is authorized to serve within three days of such arrest or of becoming ineligible for registration or appointment as a special conservator of the peace. Any appointment for a special conservator of the peace shall be eligible for suspension and revocation after a hearing pursuant to subsection A if the special conservator of the peace is convicted of any offense listed in this subsection or becomes ineligible for registration or appointment as a special conservator of the peace pursuant to this subsection. All appointments for special conservators of the peace shall become void on September 15, 2004, unless they have obtained a valid registration issued by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

D. Each person registered as or seeking registration as a special conservator of the peace shall be covered by evidence of a policy of (i) personal injury liability insurance, as defined in § 38.2-117; (ii) property damage liability insurance, as defined in § 38.2-118; and (iii) miscellaneous casualty insurance, as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-111, which includes professional liability insurance that provides coverage for any activity within the scope of the duties of a special conservator of the peace as set forth in this section, in an amount and with coverage for each as fixed by the Board, or self-insurance in an amount and with coverage as fixed by the Board. Any person who is aggrieved by the misconduct of any person registered as a special conservator of the peace and recovers a judgment against the registrant, which is unsatisfied in whole or in part, may bring an action in his own name against the insurance policy of the registrant.

E. Effective July 1, 2015, all persons currently appointed or seeking appointment or reappointment as a special conservator of the peace are required to register with the Department of Criminal Justice Services, regardless of any other standing the person may have as a law-enforcement officer or other position requiring registration or licensure by the Department. The employer of any special conservator of the peace shall notify the circuit court, the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Department of State Police, and the chief law-enforcement officer of all localities in which the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve within 30 days after the date such individual has left employment and all powers of the special conservator of the peace shall be void. Failure to provide such notification shall be punishable by a fine of $250 plus an additional $50 per day for each day such notice is not provided.

F. When the application is made by any sheriff or chief of police, the circuit court shall specify in the order of appointment the name of the applicant authorized under subsection A and the geographic jurisdiction of the special conservator of the peace. Such appointments shall be limited to the city or county wherein application has been made. When the application is made by any corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth, any owner, proprietor, or authorized custodian of any place within the Commonwealth, or any museum owned and managed by the Commonwealth, the circuit court shall specify in the order of appointment the name of the applicant authorized under subsection A and the specific real property where the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve. Such appointments shall be limited to the specific real property within the county, city, or town wherein application has been made. In the case of a corporation or other business, the court appointment may also include, for good cause shown, any real property owned or leased by the corporation or business, including any subsidiaries, in other specifically named cities and counties, but shall provide that the powers of the special conservator of the peace do not extend beyond the boundaries of such real property. The clerk of the appointing circuit court shall transmit to the Department of State Police, the clerk of the circuit court of each locality where the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve, and the sheriff or chief of police of each such locality a copy of the order of appointment that shall specify the following information: the person's complete name, address, date of birth, social security number, gender, race, height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes, firearm authority or limitation as set forth in subsection G, date of the order, and other information as may be required by the Department of State Police. The Department of State Police shall enter the person's name and other information into the Virginia Criminal Information Network established and maintained by the Department pursuant to Chapter 2 (§ 52-12 et seq.) of Title 52. The Department of State Police may charge a fee not to exceed $10 to cover its costs associated with processing these orders. Each special conservator of the peace so appointed on application shall present his credentials to the chief of police or sheriff or his designee of all jurisdictions where he has conservator powers. If his powers are limited to certain areas of real property owned or leased by a corporation or business, he shall also provide notice of the exact physical addresses of those areas. Each special conservator shall provide to the circuit court a temporary registration letter issued by the Department of Criminal Justice Services to include the results of the background check prior to seeking an appointment by the circuit court. Once the applicant receives the appointment from the circuit court the applicant shall file the appointment order and a copy of the application with the Department of Criminal Justice Services in order to receive his special conservator of the peace registration document. If the court appointment includes any real property owned or leased by the corporation or business in other specifically named cities and counties not within the city or county wherein application has been made, the clerk of the appointing court shall transmit a copy of the order of appointment to (i) the clerk of the circuit court for each jurisdiction where the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve and (ii) the sheriff or chief of police of each jurisdiction where the special conservator of the peace is authorized to serve.

If any such special conservator of the peace is the employee, agent or servant of another, his appointment as special conservator of the peace shall not relieve his employer, principal or master from civil liability to another arising out of any wrongful action or conduct committed by such special conservator of the peace while within the scope of his employment.

Effective July 1, 2002, no person employed by a local school board as a school security officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, shall be eligible for appointment as a conservator for purposes of maintaining safety in a public school in the Commonwealth. All appointments of special conservators of the peace granted to school security officers as defined in § 9.1-101 prior to July 1, 2002 are void.

G. The court may limit or prohibit the carrying of weapons by any special conservator of the peace initially appointed on or after July 1, 1996, while the appointee is within the scope of his employment as such.

H. The governing body of any locality or the sheriff of a county where no police department has been established may enter into mutual aid agreements with any entity employing special conservators of the peace that is located in such locality for the use of their joint forces and their equipment and materials to maintain peace and good order. Any law-enforcement officer or special conservator of the peace, while performing his duty under any such agreement, shall have the same authority as lawfully conferred on him within his own jurisdiction.

I. No special conservator of the peace shall display or use the word "police" on any uniform, badge, credential, or vehicle in the performance of his duties as a special conservator of the peace. Other than special conservators of the peace employed by a state agency, no special conservator of the peace shall use the seal of the Commonwealth on any uniform, badge, credential, or vehicle in the performance of his duties. However, upon request and for good cause shown, the order of appointment may provide that a special conservator of the peace who (i) meets all requirements, including the minimum compulsory training requirements, for law-enforcement officers set forth in Chapter 1 (§ 9.1-100 et seq.) of Title 9.1 and (ii) is employed by the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Commission or the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority may use the word "police" on any badge, uniform, or vehicle in the performance of his duties or the seal of the Commonwealth on any badge or credential in the performance of his duties.

Code 1950, § 19.1-28; 1960, c. 366; 1974, cc. 44, 45; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 220; 1982, c. 523; 1989, c. 455; 1996, cc. 850, 956; 2001, c. 249; 2002, cc. 605, 836, 868; 2003, c. 922; 2004, c. 401; 2005, c. 498; 2006, c. 290; 2007, cc. 380, 481; 2008, c. 795; 2010, cc. 530, 778, 825; 2013, cc. 105, 122; 2015, cc. 602, 766, 772; 2016, c. 551; 2017, c. 494; 2018, c. 792.

§ 19.2-13.1. Application for special conservator of the peace by locality.

No official or employee of a school board or county, city, or town, its departments, or its agents shall submit an application for the appointment of a special conservator of the peace without attaching a written assessment from the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality stating the need for the appointment and recommending any limitations that should be included in the order of appointment to the application submitted to the court pursuant to subsection A of § 19.2-13.

2016, c. 416.

§ 19.2-14. Conservators of the peace for fairgrounds and cemeteries; bond required.

The superintendent or other person in charge of any fairgrounds or any public or private cemetery shall, for the purpose of maintaining order and enforcing the criminal and police laws of the Commonwealth, or the county or city in which such fairgrounds or cemetery is situated, have all the powers, functions, duties, responsibilities and authority of a conservator of the peace within the fairgrounds or cemetery over which he may have charge and within one-half of a mile around the same.

The provisions of § 19.2-13 relative to the giving of bond and the liability of an employer, principal or master, shall be applicable to every person exercising any powers of a conservator of the peace under this section.

Code 1950, § 19.1-32; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-15. When conservator appointed under § 19.2-13 need not be a citizen.

Any such conservator appointed under the provisions of § 19.2-13 whose jurisdiction is limited to the grounds attached to an airport, need not be a citizen of the Commonwealth if the proprietors of such airport shall, before any such conservator shall enter upon the duties of the office, enter into bond with approved surety before the clerk of the circuit court having jurisdiction over such airport in the penalty of $1,000 for each conservator so appointed, with condition for the faithful discharge of his official duties.

Code 1950, § 19.1-29; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-16. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1994, c. 205.

§ 19.2-17. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 850.

Article 2. Powers and Duties.

§ 19.2-18. Powers and duties generally.

Every conservator of the peace shall have authority to arrest without a warrant in such instances as are set out in §§ 19.2-19 and 19.2-81. Upon making an arrest without a warrant, the conservator of the peace shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of § 19.2-22 or § 19.2-82 as the case may be.

Code 1950, § 19.1-20; 1960, c. 366; 1968, c. 639; 1972, c. 549; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-19. Recognizance to keep the peace; when required.

If any person threatens to kill or injure another or to commit violence or injury against his person or property, or to unlawfully trespass upon his property, he shall be required to give a recognizance to keep the peace for such period not to exceed one year as the court hearing the complaint may determine.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-26, 19.1-27; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 500.

§ 19.2-20. Same; complaint and issuance of warrant therefor.

If complaint be made to any magistrate or judge that a person should be required to give a recognizance to keep the peace due to any of the reasons set forth in § 19.2-19, such magistrate or judge shall examine on oath the complainant, and any witness who may be produced, reduce the complaint to writing, and cause it to be signed by the complainant; and if probable cause is established, such magistrate or judge shall issue a warrant, reciting the complaint, and requiring the person complained of forthwith to be apprehended and brought before the district court having appropriate jurisdiction.

Code 1950, § 19.1-21; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 500; 1979, c. 708.

§ 19.2-21. Same; procedure when accused appears.

When such person appears, if the judge, on hearing the parties, considers that there is not good cause for the complaint, he shall discharge such person, and may give judgment in his favor against the complainant for his costs. If he considers that there is good cause therefor, he may require a recognizance of the person against whom it is, and give judgment against him for the costs of the prosecution, or any part thereof; and, unless such recognizance be given, he shall commit him to jail by a warrant, stating the sum and time in and for which the recognizance is directed. The person given judgment under this section for costs may issue a writ of fieri facias thereon, if an appeal be not allowed; and proceedings thereupon may be according to §§ 16.1-99 through 16.1-101.

Code 1950, § 19.1-22; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 500.

§ 19.2-22. Same; arrest without a warrant.

A person arrested without a warrant by any conservator of the peace or other law-enforcement officer for any of the acts set forth in § 19.2-19 committed in the presence of such conservator of the peace or law-enforcement officer, shall be brought forthwith before a magistrate or judge, and proceedings shall be had in accordance with §§ 19.2-20 and 19.2-21.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-23. Payment of fees or mileage allowances into county or city treasury.

Any conservator or policeman appointed under the provisions of this chapter shall not be entitled to fees or mileage for performance of his duties as such conservator or policeman.

Code 1950, § 19.1-31; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

Article 3. Appeals.

§ 19.2-24. When appeal may be taken; witnesses recognized; bail.

Any person from whom a recognizance is required under the provisions of this chapter or who has been committed to jail for failure to give security therefor, may appeal to the circuit court of the county or city, and, in such case, the judge from whose judgment the appeal is taken shall recognize such of the witnesses as he thinks proper; provided, however, that the person taking the appeal may be required to give bail, with good security, for his appearance at the circuit court of the county or city.

Code 1950, § 19.1-23; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 500.

§ 19.2-25. Power of court on appeal.

The court may dismiss the complaint or affirm the judgment, and make what order it sees fit as to the costs. If it award costs against the appellant, the recognizance which he may have given shall stand as security therefor. When there is a failure to prosecute the appeal, such recognizance shall remain in force, although there be no order of affirmance. On any appeal the court may require of the appellant a new recognizance if it see fit.

Any person committed to jail under this chapter may be discharged by the circuit court of the county or city on such terms as it may deem reasonable.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-24, 19.1-25; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

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