The Birds Nest - Training, Educational, & Opinions

Veterans Affairs Police Authority Exceeded?

Has anyone ever been told that a Veterans Affairs Police Officer is working a case off Federal Property? If so, one may want to validate the legality of such investigation. It turns out that the Veterans Affairs Police Service (VAPS) cannot work a case off its property without higher level approval from its program office. This approval is above any Director within the healthcare system or network.

One should understand the scope of VAPS. It’s only for “on property,” matters. The Federal Statue, 38 USC 902, is very clear on this topic.

Another key understanding of scope is the laws it may enforce. Federally, one must use any Federal Law on the books before one can “assimilate,” a state law. A state law can never be assimilated from proprietary jurisdiction (lease space). One must use the federal law, regardless of language and cannot opt to pick a state law because of its language. A VAPS Officer can never file state charges, all charges must be submitted to a Federal United States Attorney.

In Veterans Affairs, all facilities have a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that must be used before any other law may be used. The CFR is 38 CFR 1.218 lists many violations of law. Each violation is a fine. Each violation within this CFR has a statue of limitation of one year. It must be used by any Federal Law Enforcement Official before looking for any other Federal law within any other Federal statue.

If anyone gets a call from a VAPS Officer, one may want to validate the legality of their inquiry. First, a matter must have occurred or be suspected of occurring on Veterans Affairs (VA) property. Second, it still has to be within the statue of limitation (this is generally a year, as most violations are within 38 CFR 1.218).

Another piece of information to know, the state has legal authority on VA property when the property is proprietary or concurrent jurisdiction. This means, any potential violations of law by a VAPS Officer can be investigated by a local authority, under the proper jurisdiction. The only jurisdiction the state has no authority is exclusive.

This should help those that use the VA and go to it’s property, with resolving matters and understanding their rights. Should VAPS not take a case, one can still consult the local authorities, should it be within their jurisdiction. Please remember, the state statue has different language when it comes to the elements of a crime.

Consult with an expert about your options should you need services or are unsure about legal process.

Control Numbers should be referenced in all Felony cases a VA Police Officer is authorized to investigate, such authorization should be documented in the case report; if not, it is a potential violation of law