San Diego Trolley guards: Private citizen security or real police officers?

January 29, 2012 by  


San Diego Trolley Guards: Private Security or Sworn Police?

    San Diego Trolley Guards think they are real police officers. Specifically, they think they are actual sworn peace officers but they aren’t; they work for Heritage Security, a private security company. What they are doing and saying in the video above they are doing as private citizens. The two arrests you see them perform in the video are citizen’s arrests. The problem I have is that the people arrested were placed in handcuffs, one because he smelled of alcohol and the other for smoking. Both of the guards also react rather rudely to my presence; one saying he would arrest me if I stand behind him while the other walks up to me and tells me to get back, then asks to see my ticket and then says to get out of his face. Unless I was standing in a 6 inch hole, there is no way I was in that guard’s face.

    From my point of view, the short guard became annoyed when the fat guard made him aware of my presence. That’s when Biggie said he’d arrest me for standing behind him and Smalls checked my ticket and told me to get out of his face. I really didn’t move, so the little guy decided to go pick on a smoker that happened to light up as he was exiting 7-11. From my point of view, short-stuff was being a fucking bully. Watch the video below and pay attention to how the short guard talks to the guys after they are in cuffs. He’s a cast iron dick.

    I think there is a vicious cycle going on between commuters and security guards: Commuters think most guards are assholes and guards think most commuters are degenerates. They’re both right. Most people in San Diego that ride the trolley instead of driving a car do it because they can’t afford a car or because they’ve had their license suspended; in other words, because they HAVE to. I’m part of that small green minority that’s charging ahead and riding public transportation by choice so I get to bear witness to a lot of trolley guards being assholes to a lot of stinky, stupid degenerates and I’m all for that. However, I was wearing dress pants, a collared button down shirt, a tie, impeccably shined shoes and I was holding a camera when short-stack and extra-large talked to me the way they did.

    I didn’t look like nor was I acting like a degenerate when they were assholes to me. Therein lies the vicious cycle. Or maybe trolley guards really are assholes to everyone. What do you think?

    Below is a video I shot and blogged about in 2009 showing four guards take a guy down for smoking, so San Diego trolley guards have had a pattern of arresting people for petty things for at least a couple years, but they are not sworn peace officers. This makes me question the necessity and the legality of the arrests because as you’ll hear in the videos, they never say they are NOT the police, but, they sure talk like the police.


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15 Responses to “San Diego Trolley guards: Private citizen security or real police officers?”

  1. insider on February 2nd, 2012 2:14 pm

    It seems like your starting to harass these guys. It's one thing if you have one video of trolley cops, but now you have this one. Seems like your provoking them to arrest you.

    I seriously dont think you do anything wrong my recording them, but why do you walk up so close to them?. Theres no need for that while their are in the process of arresting someone. No cop or security guard would like that, whether you look like a bum or a business man. Its a safety issue. I doubt they would have any problem with you recording if you would have just not been so close to them.

    You become a distraction, when you get that close. That one second distraction can cause one of them their life.

    by the way MTS is a police force as of last year. Although they do have heritage security guards on beat.

    "MTS Police" Look it up

  2. Outsider on May 5th, 2012 2:02 pm

    Thank you for doing this. Keep up the work. Police and security need to be accountable for their actions.

  3. John Harkins on June 28th, 2012 1:30 pm

    About a year and a half ago,I was handcuffed,at the 5th st. trolley stop.I showed them my trolly and bus pass but left my I.D. in my storeage unit. I told them this,and while they had me handcuffed, Sgt. H. Castro; stood there for a couple of minutes squeezing my thumbs together and when I asked him why he was doing that; He said,'because we can!' He also told me that they were the police! Sgt. H. Castro was not a sargent at the time, but was showing a new trolley cop, what to do to people, His way! And at no point in time through all of this ;did I offer any resistance. I was Homeless at the time, and I know that's why they targeted Me! I would love to meet others with similar stories about Sgt. Castro, I can't be the only one out there if he did this to me! I am also willing to take a pollygraph test about allof this!!! I would love to sue that asshole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. record! on July 8th, 2012 1:52 pm

    If these rent a cops are just douing thier job, then there is no reason for concerns of video taping. I agree with insider though. keep a distance and use your zoom lens. Good Job!

  5. Gabby on March 9th, 2013 9:12 am

    Ok, a few things… #1 and probably most important-the Transit Enforcement team is divided into 2 groups, security and officers. The "security" side are contract employees through Heritage, the "officers" are STATE EMPLOYEES AND HAVE FULL LEGAL CAPACITY TO ARREST AND DETAIN PEOPLE. Look it up…
    #2-When you stand directly behind an officer, you pose a threat, period. They dont know you or if you are somehow related to the person they are engaging. You could be sneaking up behind them to attack them.
    #3-There are posted 'No Smoking' signs at all trolley stations-if you light up, you are in violation, and subject to arrest. So they arent "picking" on people, they are doing their job.
    #4- If you have never been in a wrestling match or in a fight, most "resistance" is not easily detected, you may think the guy is not resisting, but locking your arms to prevent being cuffed is resisting, and usually means you are going to try to fight or run. Hardly anybody getting arrested does so without some type of resistance. If you ave never been in law enforcement, dont assume to know what they are dealing with. And just because you dress nicer than 90% of the people on the trolley, doesn't mean you aren't possibly a "degenerate" also, at least to Transit police! So, keep your ID on you, always (its the law in cali anyways…look it up)

  6. mike on October 24th, 2013 1:47 pm

    there is no law to carry ID when walking. If asked by police you need to give them your name, not your ID if not driving. Look it up. Smoking is not an arrestable offense. Its an infraction, not a misdemenor. Citizens arrests from security guards can only be done when they witness a misdemor or felony level crime. look it up.
    There are no mts police. they are security guards.

  7. Johnny Brown on March 27th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Get a real life. Unless you understand the job and what it really entails, then shut your inerrant pie hole.

  8. who cares on August 24th, 2013 11:17 pm

    First of all, when ever they make an arrest, by law, they are supposed to tell you its a citizens arrest, and that they are not real cops, 2nd if they know you think they are real officers, and don't clear that awat then they are doing a felony!!!!!

  9. Donna on December 24th, 2013 12:42 am

    The problem, as I see it, with the transit guards who stand along side trolley stops is
    1. They are too young and inexperienced for the job. Initially I thought they were part of a summer youth program. They are just kids.
    2. They have NO people skills and most lack critical thinking skills. They are clearly untrained.
    3. They are asked to enforce a law, "paid fare area," that is not likely legal. How can a side walk, used by a public utility and paid for by taxpayers restrict taxpayers from walking on a certain side of a fence of a public sidewalk. If I had time, I would challenge this law in court and win some money for the homeless, whose exclusion is the only reason for the law.

    I live downtown and take the trolley to work in La Mesa. I screamed at one of the transit guards yesterday because I was standing in the "paid fare area" next to the fare machine, which was in use by someone purchasing a ticket. I had my compass card and my ATM card in my hand and the "child" asked to check my compass card. That was just so STUPID I snapped.

    I think the entire guard nonsense is just an excuse to give someone's idiot cousin a government contract. The guys standing outside at the trolley stops serve absolutely no beneficial purpose. Most major cities use plain clothes police. That won't fly in San Diego because this city is all about patronage. I guess they feel their idiot cousins have to eat too.

  10. The World Is Raw on December 24th, 2013 1:26 am

    Donna, you are absolutely right. I moved to Denver a little over a month ago and the public transportation guards are much nicer!

  11. manicman on January 22nd, 2014 1:10 am

    As far as I understand it there are two types of trolley cops. There are code enforcements officers and security guards. The code enforcement officers are the guys that do not carry a gun and write people tickets. They are sworn public officers with limited arrest powers. I know this because I applied for that job. I think I would have been fired because I would have let a bunch of people slide. I was also a security guard at one time and as far as I know a security guard can arrest you for a misdemeanor or a felony that you commit in their presence. They can’t tell people that they are police. The people doing the arresting on those videos looked like code enforcement to me.

  12. mike on November 25th, 2014 6:55 pm

    There are NO San Diego Trolley “police”. They are security guards.
    Yes they can citizens arrest people for crimes they see and turn them over to real police. Like any security guard. From a practical standpoint-they have guns, tasers and pepper spray. Picking a fight with them is stupid. Walk away and call the police if needed.

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