Security Guard Legislation in Baltimore
Security guards are supposed to protect establishments and their patrons. Therefore, we fully expect them to jump in if an emergency occurs inside the commercial establishment they are guarding. Unfortunately, not all security guards are prepared to respond to emergencies. If anything, they can make things significantly worse.
The quality of work security guards provide has become a real issue in Baltimore. It has become enough of an issue to force the state government to enact new legislation.
What do the new laws mean for security guards in Baltimore? Find out by continuing with the rest of this article.
Fatal Incidents Involving Security Guards
If you have been following the news recently, you are likely well aware of the fatal incidents in Baltimore that have involved security guards. This report from the Baltimore Sun does an excellent job of highlighting some of those tragic incidents.
Those incidents have alarmed communities throughout Baltimore County and the rest of Maryland. Citizens have raised concerns about their safety, knowing that some security guards hired by commercial establishments quickly pull out their guns and escalate the situations they are involved in.
It is also worth noting that these fatal incidents involving security guards are nothing new. They are garnering more attention recently, but they have been Convenience Store Gas Station Crime in Baltimorean issue in Baltimore for a while now.
Thus far, a potential solution to the problems posed by improperly trained security guards has been unavailable. However, the recently passed security guard legislation hopes to resolve that problem for good.
Understanding the New Standards for Security Guards
Senate Bill 760 is the new legislation setting higher standards for security guards employed in Maryland. Speaking to WJZ, SB 760 sponsor Senator Jill Carter indicated that the bill was long overdue. Senator Carter also noted that the lack of a uniform standard of training for security officers “defies logic,” given that they are often the first respondents to incidents.
What standards does SB 760 set for individuals planning to work as security guards? Let’s discuss that topic in greater detail below.
Requirements Set for Security Guards
Per SB 760, any individual who wants to work as a security guard in Maryland must be certified to serve in that capacity. So how does an individual receive security guard certification?
First, the applicant must be at least eighteen years old. They should also be employees or applicants with either a licensed security agency or security guard employer. They must also be of good moral character and reputation.
Training requirements are also in SB 760. To receive certification, an applicant must complete a 12-hour initial security training course approved by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission. An individual may also have certification if they have at least three years of experience working as a police officer immediately preceding the time of their application.
Notably, applicants may also be disqualified for certain reasons. For example, applicants convicted of violent crimes or other disqualifying offenses will not be eligible to receive certification.
Former officers from the Baltimore police department may also be denied certification for their previous conduct. For example, if the applicant used excessive force or made false statements as a police officer, they may not be certified to work as a security per the new standards set by SB 760.
Renewal Requirements for Security Guards
Security guards also cannot afford to stay complacent if they want to hold on to their jobs. Thanks to SB 760, security guards must renew their certifications periodically.
Renewal will not be granted automatically because a security guard files for it. Before renewing their certification, a security guard must complete another course set by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission. This time around, renewal applicants must complete an 8-hour training course.
Security guard certifications only last for three years. After the certification expires, a security guard can seek renewal for an additional three-year term.
Working Standards for Security Guards
The recently passed SB 760 establishes standards for security guard conduct while on the job.
Whenever a security guard is on the clock, they must display and wear the clearance card issued by the Secretary of State Police. This clearance card will identify the individual in question as a security guard.
Security guards must also meet specific requirements to carry handguns while working. They must first have a valid permit to carry a firearm. On top of that, the security guard must receive clearance from the Secretary of State Police and their employer to carry a handgun.
Security guards must also report any time they use force while working. Use of force may include firing a handgun, discharging pepper mace, and using an electronic control device.
Upon using force against another person, a security guard must file a detailed report explaining what happened. Furthermore, they must file the report within 48 hours of the incident. A security guard will only be relieved of this obligation if they are seriously injured or disabled.
Insurance Requirements for Security Guard Agencies and Security Guard Employers
To further protect community members from potential abuses committed by security guards, SB 760 also requires security guard agencies and security guard employers to take out insurance. More specifically, they must maintain commercial general liability insurance with a total aggregate minimum of $1,000,000 if they employ five or more security guards. Employers and agencies with fewer than five guards must maintain commercial general liability insurance with a total aggregate minimum of $500,000.
Any security guard agency that fails to meet these insurance requirements will be suspended. In addition, they will not clear individual employers to employ security guards until their insurance requirements are in order.
Applying for Security Guard Certification
Obtaining certification to become a security guard in Maryland has become a more involved process. Click on this link to find the documents you need to fill out for certification.
After completing the documents, you must send them to the Licensing Division of the Maryland State Police. From there, you must wait. The completion of the application process may take up to 90 business days, so sit back and wait for the results.
Competent Security Guards Keep Communities Safe
The passage of SB 760 came at a critical time because competent security guards are needed more than ever in Maryland. We have already mentioned some deadly incidents involving security guards who used lethal force. Therefore, establishing better standards for security guards is important, not only for preventing those incidents.
Commercial establishments such as convenience stores, gas stations, nightclubs, and shopping complexes have become frequent targets for criminals hoping to prey on vulnerable individuals. If competent security guards are not around to keep those commercial establishments safe from criminals, customers must continually put themselves at risk.
With SB 760 setting new standards for security guards in Maryland, those establishments should become safer. You can pick up something from a convenience store or pump your gas without looking over your shoulder.
SB 760 should help address concerns about inadequate and even negligent security. Still, it likely will not put an end to all the cases of negligent security. So if you or someone you know suffers injuries or losses due to negligent security, remember that pursuing legal action is an option.
Maryland Negligent Security Lawyer
Baltimore negligent security lawyer John Leppler is ready to lend a helping hand if you want to pursue a lawsuit based on negligent security. John has been handling negligent and inadequate security cases in Baltimore for a number of years, and he will give you the best odds of claiming the compensation that is rightfully yours. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today and start building your negligent security case.