Here’s the wiki entry.
And here’s what the SFPD has to say about Patrol Specials, below. I’ll note that the bolded parts are in the original, and really, that’s my whole point – the bolded parts are what the SFPD wants to emphasize, in high relief, as if we, the General Public, are failing students who Just Don’t Get It.
WHAT IS A PATROL SPECIAL OFFICER?
Patrol Special Officers and their Assistants are NON-SWORN private patrol persons and are NOT members of the San Francisco Police Department. The Police Commission appoints Patrol Special Officers and has oversight responsibility over the entire Patrol Special Program. Patrol Special Officers were created under the City Charter and are defined as private patrol persons who contract to perform security duties of a private nature for private persons and businesses within a geographical boundary set forth by the Police Commission.
WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF A PATROL SPECIAL OFFICER?
Private businesses hire Patrol Special Officers to provide security services. They are private patrol officers who enter into a personal services contract with clients for security services. Typical responsibilities of a Patrol Special Officer’s include: unlocking or securing doors to a business, making checks of residences or businesses, conduct perimeter checks at burglar alarms, providing a physical presence at businesses and providing security consultations.
WHAT AREAS OF SAN FRANCISCO DO THESE OFFICERS PATROL?
Patrol Special Officer’s “Beats” are divided throughout San Francisco. A Patrol Special “Beat” owner can purchase the rights of a specific area to patrol. The purchasing process is regulated by the Police Commission and Police Department. All parts of San Francisco have Patrol Special “Beats”.