Friday, April 20, 2012

New Hawaii security guard requirements will impact thousands

HONOLULU HI April 20 2012  - Under existing Hawaii regulations, security guards are required to have an eighth-grade education before being deployed to a job site.

But, under legislation known as Act 208, anyone in the security profession will be required to obtain a high school diploma or the equivalent. They must also be free of any psychiatric or psychological disorders that may impact their work and complete a nationwide FBI background check.

"Everyone will have the same minimal training, and even if you decide to change areas of security, it'll be covered," said Charlene Tamanaha, executive officer of the Board of Private Detectives and Guards, the state panel responsible for implementing the new mandates.

The law is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013, after receiving overwhelming support from state lawmakers in the House and Senate during the 2010 legislative session.

The law also requires all present and future security guards to complete an eight-hour course at one of seven community colleges across the state. The course, which has yet to be finalized, will be followed by a written exam and four hours of on-the-job training. Those who pass the course must also continue their training by receiving four hours of classroom time every year, or a total of eight hours in a biennium.

It's estimated community colleges will charge $40 for the classroom instruction time, or about half of a day's pay for the typical security guard that makes $9 to $10 per hour.

"I'm sure there will be some guards that may not meet our standards, but that's not to say that they cannot be trained, or go and do courses that may help them to achieve that level and pass the test," said Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry, who's also a member of the Board of Private Detectives and Guards.

The new mandates are expected to increase the cost of doing business for security firms that contract services to a variety of government and private entities.

"It's going to add to the costs because we have to do all this training," said Lee Donohue, director of security at Securitas, the state's largest security firm. "Right now, we haven't made a decision whether we'll ask our employees to bear the cost of the new (community college) course."

State Sen. Rosalyn Baker was one of the lead sponsors of the bill. She told KITV4 many people were questioning the training of security guards after having a few bad experiences.
This is really to standardize the training, to upgrade the training and make sure that everybody is on the same page," said Baker.
Perry believes the new requirements will help law enforcement deal more effectively with security guards, who are often called upon to assist police as witnesses to crimes or the identification of suspects.

"We work hand in hand with the security guard agencies, so we want to make sure that what they do has been done properly, and this Act 208 will assist us in doing that," said the Kauai police chief.

In 2010, the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations estimated the number of security guards in the state at 10,700. However, the number may be much greater when including bouncers, loss prevention officers and private security guards who work at condominiums and home associations.

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