No Guns in Offing for Arlington Auxiliary Police


(Friday, July 13, 2007 2:44 PM EDT)

While at least one neighboring jurisdiction plans to issue guns to volunteer auxiliary police officers, the Arlington County Police Department isn't considering the option.

According to press reports, the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department has decided to issue guns to volunteer officers who complete training and pass the required background and psychological tests.

According to The Washington Post, the armed volunteers in the District will be able to perform all of the duties of a sworn officer, including making arrests.

While Arlington has its own auxiliary force, there is no plan “at this time” to arm them, police officials said.

Arlington's auxiliary officers carry pepper spray and ASP (Armament Systems and Procedures) expandable batons.

“The auxiliary officers have batons and pepper spray, which is quite a responsibility already,” said Det. Steve Gomez, a spokesman for the department. “It's a very different atmosphere here.”

Although Virginia law allows jurisdictions to authorize auxiliary officers to make arrests, Arlington's police department does not authorize its 21 auxiliary officers to do so.

In Arlington, auxiliary officers are assigned to either traffic, tactical, parking or crossing-guard units, which are special-operations sections within the department.

Auxiliaries support other units within the department as uniformed patrols and bike patrols, and by participating in community policing initiatives and criminal investigations.

The Arlington County auxiliary police force was formed in 1942 to serve as a supplement to police officers, whose numbers at the time were depleted because of the war.

All members of the auxiliary police force are required to contribute a minimum of 180 hours a year to the program.

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