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BILL PROPOSES NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR EMPLOYMENT OF SECURITY GUARDS

 BILL PROPOSES NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR EMPLOYMENT OF SECURITY GUARDS
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- An ad hoc committee of six of the nation's largest providers of private security guard services late yesterday voiced support of Congressman Matthew G. Martinez (D-Calif.) for his introduction of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to establish national standards for the employment of private security officers.
 The Martinez legislation would require states to adopt licensing regulations for private security officers and their employers. In addition, the bill requires employers to conduct criminal background checks of all applicants and sets minimum training standards for armed and unarmed guards. More than one million private security officers are employed in the United States.
 Rodger Comstock, president of Burns International Security Services, the largest of more than 12,000 U.S. companies that provide private security officers, said that the growing number of security companies and personnel make national standards necessary.
 "The public has a right to expect that someone called a security officer, even though unarmed, has been properly screened and trained to perform his or her duties," said Comstock. "Currently, only 15 states require any training for unarmed security officers. Our industry has been urging individual states to adopt training and background check requirements for years, but the progress has been slow."
 In addition to Burns International, the Martinez bill is supported by industry leaders Pinkerton's Inc., The Wackenhut Corp., Wells Fargo Guard Services, American Protective Services, Inc. and Stanley Smith Security, Inc. Together, those companies employ 155,000 security officers and generate $2.6 billion in annual revenue.
 A key provision of the bill, The Security Officers Quality Assurance Act of 1992, would allow security companies direct access to Federal Bureau of Investigation files to conduct criminal background checks of potential employees. Currently in most states, companies must request criminal background checks through a police department which forwards the request to a state agency and then on to the FBI, a process which can take several months.
 The bill would require employers to certify that every security officer had met screening and training requirements. Screening requirements for receiving a security officer license would include verification of the previous five years of employment history, reference checks and a check for criminal convictions, including an FBI fingerprint check.
 Training requirements specified by the bill include a minimum of eight hours of classroom and four hours of on-the-job training for unarmed security officers, and passing an examination prior to assuming their duties. Armed guards would be required to complete an additional 15 hours of training, in addition to passing a marksmanship test. Annual refresher training courses would be required of all security officers.
 Employers in violation of the act would be subject to fines and suspension or revocation of their license. States would be allowed to adopt more stringent standards than those contained in the Martinez bill.
 Comstock said that the ad hoc committee of the six contract security companies would work with Rep. Martinez to build support for the legislation both within the industry and within Congress.
 -0- 9/11/92
 /CONTACT: Joseph Allen, 312-322-8836, for the committee. CO: Burns International Security Services ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: LEG


TS -- NY016 -- 8393 09/11/92 10:33 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 11, 1992
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