PA 08-73—sSB 179

Public Safety and Security Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE LICENSING AND TRAINING OF PRIVATE DETECTIVES, GUARD SERVICES AND SECURITY PERSONNEL

SUMMARY: This act makes several changes in the private investigative and private security laws.

It explicitly requires security officers employed by non-security businesses to be licensed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) if they (1) are uniformed and (2) perform security work in an area to which the public has unrestricted access or access only by paid admission. It explicitly prohibits any security officer required to be licensed from working as such before being licensed. It extends the licensing period from two to five years, and makes a corresponding adjustment in the fee, changing it from $20 to $50.

The act (1) defines private investigators, (2) requires them to be registered by DPS, and (3) allows DPS to administratively sanction them if they violate pertinent laws.

It specifies that, for licensing and regulatory purposes, a “licensee” is a person or corporation “engaged in the business” of providing private investigative or private security services.

Beginning October 1, 2008, it prohibits, with one minor exception, people not approved by DPS from teaching the required security officers' licensure or firearm safety and use courses. It establishes a $20 fee for getting and renewing the approval, which is valid for up to two years.

The act modifies the penalties for certain violations and imposes penalties for others, including imposing a $75 per day penalty for teaching the security officer firearms safety and use course without the DPS commissioner's approval. Under an existing statute, which the act does not change, the penalty for this same violation is up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. The act allows fines for certain violations to be paid by mail.

It also makes miscellaneous minor, technical, and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2008

SECURITY OFFICER

Licensing and Registration

For licensing and regulatory purposes, security officers fall into two broad categories: (1) those employed by private security firms or companies (businesses) and (2) those employed by entities not in the private security business (e. g. , hospitals or retail establishments) and sometimes called proprietary security officers. Prior law, based on its definition of security officers and related statutes, implicitly required the former to be licensed by DPS. The act specifically requires them to be licensed. By law, they must also be registered by DPS.

Prior law defined some proprietary security officers as “licensed and registered” depending on where they worked and whether they were uniformed, but other provisions in the law appeared to exclude them from licensing and, unless they were armed, registration requirements. The act explicitly requires proprietary security officers to be licensed if they (1) are uniformed and (2) perform security work in an area to which the public has unrestricted access (e. g. , retail store) or access only by paid admission (e. g. , movie theatre). Although the act's definition of security officers seems to indicate that these proprietary security officers must be registered, in addition to being licensed, the act's registration provision does not appear to apply to them, unless they are armed.

As is currently required for security officers employed by private security firms, the act requires security officers employed by nonsecurity businesses to be of good moral character and at least age 18.

The act prohibits anyone required to be licensed as a security officer to work unlicensed. It also eliminates a provision requiring security officers employed by security companies to be licensed before the company applies to register them.

Firearm Permit for Armed Security Officers

By law, security officers who carry firearms on the job must get a special DPS permit. As a prerequisite for the special permit, an applicant must have a DPS gun permit and successfully complete approved firearm safety and use training.

The act allows the commissioner, after notice and hearing opportunity, to suspend or revoke the special firearm permit for permit violations. This includes (1) failure to take the required annual refresher training course and (2) carrying the firearm without the valid permits. Aggrieved parties may appeal revocation and suspension actions to New Britain Superior Court.

By law, upon hiring an armed security officer, the employer must register him or her with DPS. The act eliminates a provision allowing employers of unarmed proprietary security officers to register them with DPS.

Security Officer Identification Card

The act requires that a security officer, after completing licensure training, be issued an identification card (apparently by DPS) containing his or her name, birth date, address, full-face photograph, physical description, and signature. The security officer must carry it on the job and show it when any law enforcement official asks to see it.

License Fees

The act extends the licensing period from two to five years, changes the license fee from $20 to $50, and conforms the law to practice by making the fee nonrefundable.

SECURITY SERVICE BUSINESS LICENSE

The law requires anyone engaged in the security service business to be licensed by DPS. A license applicant must have have, among other qualifications, (1) at least 10 years police officer experience or (2) at least five years supervisory or management experience in industrial security, a state or federal security agency, or a state or local police department. Under the act, any experience gained while operating unlicensed does not court toward the licensing requirement.

PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

Definition and Registration

Prior law defined a “private detective agency” as a business that provided private detectives for compensation. The act updates the law to more closely reflect current industry definition by defining the agency as a business that provides both private detectives and private investigators. It defines a “private investigator” as an employee who performs necessary services for conducting a private detective business or private detective agency. The act makes conforming changes, which include requiring licensees to (1) register private investigators with DPS (reflecting DPS' current practice of registering “investigatory employees”) and (2) inform DPS when such employees are terminated.

The act changes two registration conditions. First, it eliminates a requirement that the commissioner find applicants suitable and requires instead that he register all qualified applicants. Secondly, it requires him to deny registration to any applicant convicted of a crime of moral turpitude instead of a crime involving the applicant's honesty and integrity.

The act eliminates the following classification of employees of private detective licensees, and thus removes them from DPS regulation: agent, operator, assistant, guard, watchman, and patrolman.

INSTRUCTOR APPROVALS

Beginning October 1, 2008, the act requires anyone teaching a security officer licensing or firearms safety and use course to be approved by DPS. It gives instructors until April 1, 2009 to be approved if they are teaching courses approved by the commissioner on or before September 30, 2008.

Under existing law, which the act does not change, the commissioner must approve the training and course instructors pursuant to regulations. Under existing regulations, the licensing instructor must have at least five years experience as an instructor or training manager in the security services industry, or equivalent experience or training. If teaching the first aid course, he or she must have successfully completed an appropriate first aid instruction or emergency medical training course offered by the American Red Cross or other approved provider (Conn. Agencies Reg. 29-161x-4). The firearms instructor must have a gun permit and provide proof of successfully completing the required gun safety course (Conn. Agencies Reg. 29-161z-5).

Approval Application and Fees

An applicant seeking initial instructor approval must complete a DPS form under oath. The form must include the applicant's (1) name, address, and birth date and place; (2) employment during the previous five years; (3) education or training in the required subjects; and (4) convictions for violations of the law. It must also include any other information DPS regulations require to properly investigate the applicant's character, competence, and integrity.

The act bars approval of anyone (1) convicted of a felony, sexual offense, or crime of moral turpitude; (2) who has been denied “approval” as a security service licensee, a security officer, or instructor in the security industry; or (3) whose approval has been revoked or suspended.

An approved instructor seeking to renew his or her approval must complete a DPS-approved form. The form may require applicants to disclose any information the commissioner requires to determine their continued suitability to serve as instructors.

The act establishes a $20 nonrefundable fee for getting and renewing an approval. An approval is valid for up to two years.

Address Changes

An approved instructor who changes his or her address must notify the commissioner within two business days after the change.

REVOCATION OR SUSPENSION OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR REGISTRATION AND INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL

The act allows the commissioner to suspend or revoke private investigator registration and security officer instructor approval, after notice and hearing opportunity, for:

1. violations of pertinent laws or regulations;

2. fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;

3. material misstatement in the registration or approval application;

4. incompetence or untrustworthy business conduct; or

5. conviction for a felony or other crime (a) in the case of a private investigator, involving moral turpitude or (b), in the case of a security officer instructor, affecting the applicant's honesty, integrity, or moral fitness.

If the private investigator (but apparently not the instructor) has been convicted of 3rd degree assault or 2nd degree threatening, the commissioner must consider the facts and circumstances of the conviction before suspending or revoking the registration.

The commissioner may suspend or revoke the firearm permit instructor's approval, after notice and hearing opportunity, if he finds that the instructor violated the provisions governing approval.

Aggrieved parties may appeal revocation or suspension actions to New Britain Superior Court.

VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES

Private Detective and Private Investigator Industry

The act reduces the penalty for private detective and private detective agency licensees who (1) employ unqualified private investigators or (2) fail to register, or inform DPS when they terminate, private investigators. Under prior law, the penalty was imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. In addition, the commissioner could establish civil penalties of up to $5,000. The act, instead, imposes a penalty of $75 per offense, with each distinct violation and each day of a continuing violation being separate offenses.

Security Industry

The act reduces the penalty for security licensees who employ unqualified security officers, or fail to register or notify DPS when they terminate registered security officers. Under prior law, the penalty was imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The act, instead, imposes a penalty of $75 per offense, with each distinct violation and each day of a continuing violation being separate offenses. It imposes the same penalties on (1) non-security businesses that violate these provisions, (2) licensees and non-security businesses that illegally employ unlicensed security officers, (3) security officers required to be licensed who work unlicensed, and (4) instructors who provide the security officer licensure training without the commissioner's approval.

Special Firearms Permit

Under existing law, which the act does not change, the penalty for violating the provisions governing the special gun permit for armed security officers is $75 for each day of a violation. The act amends a separate statute imposing a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both for the same violation.

The act also imposes a penalty of $75 per day on instructors who teach the security officer firearms safety and use course without the commissioner's approval. Another statute sets the penalty for the same violation at $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

Civil Penalties and Regulations

The act allows the commissioner to adopt regulations establishing civil penalties of up to $5,000 for violations of the provisions governing security officers, except those pertaining to the special gun permit. (The commissioner already has this authority with regard to the gun permit. Also, by law, the commissioner must already adopt regulations concerning the approval of schools, course content, number of hours, and course instructors with regard to the firearm safety and use course for armed security officers. )

Fines Payable by Mail

The act allows violators to mail in fines to the Centralized Infractions Bureau for the following violations:

1. failure to register a private investigator;

2. performing the duties of a licensed security officer before being licensed;

3. failure to apply to register a security officer within prescribed deadlines;

4. failure to notify DPS of terminated licensed and registered security officers; and

5. employing an unlicensed security officer when licensure is required.

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