– Xochielt Sanchez
Answer by Jon Mixon:
In the US Air Force, the Security Police are another career field, with their own squadrons and their own AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code/Classification, essentially the number and title of your military job.) Their squadrons contain both officers and enlisted, although Air Force officers in the security police squadrons are administrators and not in active law enforcement in most non-combat situations.
The ranks are the same as again, they are simply in a different career field within the USAF. They follow the orders of their own commissioned and non-commissioned officers unless those orders conflict with safety or those given by a superior officer in a non-security matter. They have limited law enforcement powers on base (they can arrest or detain airmen and officers for misdemeanors such as DUI’s or shoplifting) but they often have to defer to local law enforcement of the Air Force Office of Special investigations for more serious crimes including felonies. They are also responsible for base security, they man the access gates to air force bases and they are assigned to guard special installations, nuclear weapons and aircraft on USAF bases and sites.
They have no civilian law enforcement powers, although they can detain civilians who trespass onto the base or commit crimes there until the civilian authorities are contacted to detain or arrest them. They then would turn the civilian over to those authorities.
The only civilians in the Air Force security chain are the investigators with the AFOSI and civilian administrators at the Air Force command level (a sub-unit of the USAF itself) and in the office of the Secretary of the Air Force.