Controversy brews over new Mo. law giving security guards some p - KMOV.com

Controversy brews over new Mo. law giving security guards some police powers

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A recent political fight in Jefferson City has lead to a new law that now gives some security guards the power to arrest people.

The fight was a bill vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon earlier this summer but it was overridden Wednesday by the state House of Representatives. It's a law the governor and others strongly opposed with the concerns of violating civil rights.

“Corporate security advisors will be able to affect an arrest where before they could and it allows them to do so outside of St. Louis and throughout the state,” said Rep. Justin Hill (R-Lake St. Louis).

The new applies to off-duty or retired police officers that work security for corporations like Anheuser Busch, Ameren, and even Metro.

“Metrolink has officers in that have authority in Missouri and Illinois, some are St. Louis City, some are St. Louis County, some are St. Clair so they’re all cross deputized so this simplifies that process,” said Hill.

But opponents like Patricia Bynes, the Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson, say the new statute gives security guards too much power.

“When you’re a police officer you have a certain jurisdiction that you have to police in, this goes beyond that as long as you work for a corporation in this state you have those powers in the state, that’s extremely scary,” said Bynes.

 Nixon vetoed the bill, saying “the authority to arrest and seize personal property is the ultimate exercise of power in our democracy and should only be bestowed in the most narrow circumstances.”

Opponents have raised concerns over civil rights issue but Rep. Hill said such concerns are overblown.

“It’s no different than a police officer, if a police officer tramples on civil rights there are repercussion for that, they fall under the same laws,” he said.

The Department of Public Safety will be in charge of regulating and handing out licenses for corporate security advisors. Only those who have police certification and complete continuing education are qualified.

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