Is a ‘rent-a-cop’ a real cop?

No.

 

“Rent-a-cops”, unless they are off duty police or have special statutory powers, do not have the legal authority to make an arrest, other than a “citizen’s arrest”.

 

If a rent-a-cop talks to you DO NOT answer and DO NOT respond. Tell them to get a real cop and then wait. Remain silent at all times! You have NO constitutional protections (i.e. Miranda rights), and no search and seizure protections from rent-a-cops. Private security officers often are used to defeat your constitutional protections: it is a mean-spirited end-run around the constitution.