Virginia Conservators Have Police Powers, Raise Questions in the Washington Area

June 27, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — As a Foggy Bottom resident, area entertainment executive and chairman of the District’s alcohol control board, Charles Brodsky seemed an unlikely candidate to become a Virginia law enforcement officer.  But in October, an Alexandria judge signed a three-page order appointing Brodsky a “special conservator of the peace,” giving him the authority to make arrests without a warrant, direct traffic, use flashing red and white police lights, and carry a gun on duty.  The archaic Virginia designation aims to create a shadow police force to beef up security on behalf of private companies. But on May 28, Brodsky was arrested and charged with impersonating an officer after two D.C. officers spotted him removing police lights and a placard from the dash of his car, which was parked illegally in Adams Morgan.

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