The issues involved are whether a special policeman must obtain a permit to carry a handgun when employed as an armed security guard for a private security company and whether he can wear his special policeman's uniform and badge while so employed.
The primary question is whether a special policeman, employed as a guard by a security company, is controlled by the Private Detective Act of 1939, N.J.S.A. 45:19-8 et seq., rather than the law governing special policemen, N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.
The court holds that such employment does not constitute "official duties" of a special policeman and it violates the rules governing employees of a private detective agency. N.J.A.C.
13:55-1.5. Therefore, he is not permitted, without the requisite permit, to carry a handgun or other firearm while employed as a security guard for a private security company, nor may he wear his special policeman's uniform and badge while so employed.
This matter arose when the court learned, in a routine check, that a private security company employed a special policeman, wearing his uniform and badge, to act as an armed security guard at a municipal building, although the guard had never obtained a permit to carry a handgun.
Hilton Rawls was an employee of Master Investigative and Detective Agency (Master) since early 1983 working as an armed security guard at a municipal building in Newark, where he is a special policeman by legal appointment, wearing his special policeman's uniform with his badge displayed.
Even after this court questioned Rawl's status as an armed guard, he not only continued such activity but sought to have the court approve similar part-time employment for another security company. The court obviously could not grant this request because no carry permit had ever been issued to him.
Therefore, the court,*fn1 sua sponte, ordered both the special policeman and the security company to show cause why they should not be restrained from such activity without said employee qualifying under the Private Detective Act and obtaining a permit to carry the gun. Rawls left this employment on June 28, 1984 after receiving the order to show cause.
The New Jersey State Special Police Association, Inc., and Newark Special Police Association intervened as amici curiae.
Although Iacobucci and Master received the order to show cause on June 28, 1984, they failed to appear at this hearing.
When the court called the office of Master to inquire why Iacobucci was not in court, an answering service said Iacobucci was in Europe and would return in two weeks. Rawls testified that since he received the order to show cause, he has attempted to contact Iacobucci without success. Therefore, the hearing proceeded without Iacobucci.
Unknown to the court until the hearing herein, the State Police had begun an investigation in March 1984, into a complaint that a sheriff's officer, Donald Bartell, was acting for a private detective agency as an armed security guard in the uniform of the Essex County Sheriff's Office, at a city-owned building in Newark. A check of the private detective unit files revealed that this subject was not registered as an employee of Master, required by N.J.A.C. 13:55-1.3.
At that time the state police also learned that Rawls and two other employees were not registered as employees of Master, although Rawls had been employed continuously since early 1983. The holder of a private detective license must file a verified statement of employment signed by the employee, together with his fingerprints, within 48 hours. N.J.S.A. 45:19-16.
On April 23, 1984, Sergeant Richard De Ghetto of the state police interviewed Iacobucci in reference to that investigation. Iacobucci assured DeGhetto that he would correct the problems immediately and that they would not reoccur.
Master apparently contended that since Rawls is a special policeman, he may carry his handgun wherever he is employed in Newark and that the Private Detective Act does not apply to ...