Brodsky arrest shows tension between police, conservators

The arrest of the former chair of the District's alcohol control board for impersonating a police officer is raising questions about armed security officers.

D.C. police nabbed Charles Brodsky on May 28th apparently after they saw him removing police lights from his car, which was illegally parked in Adams Morgan.

Brodsky pleaded not guilty and didn't want to talk today. Here's where it gets tricky. Brodsky is a special conservator of the peace, which is a form of police official in Virginia.

A lot of jurisdictions have special police. In Virginia the special conservator of the peace has expansive power which include traffic control and writing tickets, according to Robert Ord of the Falken Industries Security Company.

Ord is a conservator and runs a security company. He estimates there are some 700 special conservators in Virginia. They usually work the private sector. A judge appointed Brodsky to work in Virginia.

“He was on his own time doing his own business,” said Thomas Walsh, who is applying to become a conservator. Walsh says in some jurisdictions, especially D.C., there is tension between regular police officers and private security officers, especially those armed and vested with power.

“Our biggest business competitor is not other private security companies, it's local municipal police departments,” Walsh said.

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