Security Guard Requirements in Arizona
Arizona security guards are registered with the Department of Public Safety, or DPS. To be eligible, they must be at least eighteen years of age and authorized to work in the United States. The qualification process is based on background screening and pre-service training.
The Department of Public Safety recognizes multiple security-related job roles. Armed security guards must complete additional training. Professionals employed as corporate officers hold associate registration. The minimum age is 21 for “agency associate” and related roles.
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Security guards must hold registration unless they fall under exemption categories identified in Arizona Revised Statute (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/32/02606.htm&Title=32&DocType=ARS). Some employers who are exempt from registration requirements are still under DPS jurisdiction. Their security guards must go through a background check process. Armed guards must meet state-mandated training requirements.
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Training for Unarmed Guards: The security guard must complete eight hours of pre-service training. The mandated training is completed after the individual has an offer of employment.
Training follows a curriculum prescribed by the Department. It includes the following:
- Security guard procedures
- Criminal law/ arrest law
- Use of force
- First response/ crime scene preservation
- Emergency response procedures
- Uniform/ grooming
The security guard will need to complete eight hours of refresher training for renewal.
Training for Armed Guards: An armed security guard must complete 16 hours of firearm training; this is in addition to the eight hours required for the unarmed credential. On the application form, the firearms instructor will note whether training was with a revolver or semi-automatic..
The agency will provide information about training. The firearm instructor must be certified by the Department. He or she will have had firearm instructor training through one of the following:
- The Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board
- The National Rifle Association
- A federal law enforcement agency
The Department notes that concealed weapons training is not a substitute for DPS-mandated firearms safety training.
Firearms refresher training must be completed each year.
Background Screening Requirements
The prospective security guard must complete a fingerprint-based FBI criminal background check. In some cases, the instructor will do the fingerprinting. The Department of Public Safety notes that various other organizations can perform the service (http://licensing.azdps.gov/Licensefingerprints.asp). The background check processing fee is paid at the time of application.
Security guards must meet background requirements described in Title 22 (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/32/02622.htm&Title=32&DocType=ARS. Felony convictions are disqualifying. Some misdemeanor convictions are initially disqualifying, though the individual may regain eligibility after a period of time. In some cases, an exception may be granted for an individual who was convicted of a felony in the distant past or who was convicted of a disqualifying misdemeanor in the recent past (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/32/02609.htm&Title=32&DocType=ARS ). Individuals who seek “good cause exceptions” will need to provide evidence at a hearing. The Board will consider evidence of rehabilitation as well as evidence related to the crime itself.
Noncriminal disqualifiers include having been adjudicated as mentally incompetent or having been found to be a danger to self or others. Dishonorable discharge from the armed services is a disqualifier for armed service. The Department of Public Safety has provided a fact sheet describing all disqualifiers (http://licensing.azdps.gov/Licensedisqualifiers.asp).
The Application Process
Application materials are available from the Department of Public Safety. They may be requested or downloaded from the website (http://licensing.azdps.gov/Licenseforms.asp).
The application form includes sections that are to be completed by different individuals at different stages of the hiring and training process. The employer fills out a portion of the registration application form. The unarmed trainer and (when applicable) the firearm safety trainer later sign to verify training.
The applicant will need a passport-style photograph; it is to be in color. DPS will also require a copy of an ID such as driver’s license or passport.
Applicants with military experience are directed to include a copy of the DD214.
Applicants for the unarmed guard credential pay $72 ($22 for fingerprint processing and $50 for registration). Those applying for an armed guard credential pay $122. The fee may be paid by money order, cashier’s check, or agency check. The Department does not accept personal checks but can accept cash.
Applications may be mailed or hand delivered. Mail is to be addressed to the Licensure Unit at the following address:
Arizona Department of Public Safety Licensing Unit
PO Box 6328, MD 1160
Phoenix, AZ 85005
Security guards wishing to upgrade to armed guard status will submit a new application verifying employment and completion of firearm safety training. The security guard will need to submit fingerprints again unless the previous submission was less than 90 days in the past. DPS will require a new photograph if the security guard’s appearance has changed.
The armed security registration is agency-specific, though the licensing agency makes a distinction between the security guard card and the registration. DPS notes that an individual who has ended his or her employment is permitted to show his or her card to prospective employers (http://licensing.azdps.gov/Licensesecurityguard.asp).
Information about security guard registration is available from the Arizona Department of Public Safety Licensing Unit (http://licensing.azdps.gov/). The Licensing Unit can be reached by telephone at (602) 223-2361.
Requirements are described in statute and administrative code; interested individuals may consult Title 13, Chapter 26.
The Arizona Private Security Professionals Association is an additional professional resource (https://www.azapspa.com/).