Author: Athena Fleming, Owner/Vice President
Texas Marshal Protection Agency, LLC
There are quite a few questions that I hear often regarding private security in Texas. Being a licensed Security Officer myself for many years, in addition to actually co-owning Texas Marshal Protection Agency for over 5 years, I figured it would be beneficial to share some information in response to these inquiries.
Can Security Officers arrest or detain? #
The question of whether or not Security Officers can arrest or detain deserved its own article, since this is the most common and complex inquiry. The short answer is, absolutely! Click here to read that article and learn more.
What’s the difference between Commissioned Security Officers and Non-Commissioned Security Officers? #
Non-Commissioned Security Officers are considered entry-level, although some veterans in the industry are Non-Commissioned by choice. Overall, these individuals have completed what is referred to as the Level II Training Course, which enables them to perform security services without a firearm or intermediate weapons. Non-Commissioned Security Officers remain in this license category until they have completed the additional training that is required to become Commissioned Security Officers, as discussed below.
Commissioned Security Officers are those who have also completed the Level III Training Course (minimum 45 hours) and test (including course of fire). This license category grants the ability to carry firearms and other intermediate weapons while on duty. It’s worth mentioning that it’s not uncommon to see Commissioned Security Officers working unarmed as if they are Non-Commissioned; some clients just prefer unarmed coverage for whatever reason.
What is the role of private security? #
Hollywood paints a misleading picture as to what private security is all about in the movies and tv shows; Paul Blart isn’t exactly the most accurate representation. Some even think Security Officers are just wannabe cops, focused on catching and arresting criminals for the rush, but the job is about so much more than that! Yes we observe and report, and yes we arrest a bad guy every now and then, but the overall function of our job is to be the eyes and ears for our client by keeping them apprised of the goings on at the place of assignment, and to take care of issues as they arise on their behalf.
Our main duties include proactively looking for maintenance issues that are a safety and/or health hazard, maintaining peace and order by enforcing rules that our clients have put in place in addition to the laws of our great state, and responding to emergencies on property in an effort to resolve any issues quickly and safely. It’s nearly impossible to list all that we do, but we do it all, every day, to improve the overall quality of life wherever it is that we’re working.
How do I verify licensing for a security company and/or its officers? #
The Texas Department of Public Safety has an online application process and licensing database called Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). TOPS is a user-friendly program that is able to provide real-time licensing information on licensed individuals, companies, and schools.
- Step 1 – Click here!
- Step 2 – Select Individuals or Businesses as applicable.
- Step 3 – If you select Businesses, you will have some filters available to narrow your search.
- Step 4 – Lastly, there should be a box to check so that they can verify you’re not a robot; go ahead and verify you’re a human! Once that’s done, hit that Search button!
Note: If you are searching for an individual, there may be multiple individuals listed for the search criteria entered – it means there are multiple individuals with that name or similar names; it’s best to know their middle name and/or which company they are affiliated with.
How do I file a complaint on a security company and/or its officers? #
The Texas Department of Public Safety Regulatory Services Division regulates the private security profession in Texas. They are also tasked with investigating alleged criminal violations of Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1702, and administrative violations of Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 35. If you suspect a licensed individual, company, or school is operating in a manner other than what is required by law or administrative rule, you may submit a complaint in one of three ways.
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