Security Guard Requirements in Maine: How to become a Security Guard in Maine
Maine’s private security guards are under the jurisdiction of the Special Investigations Unit of the Bureau of Maine State Police. The state has set requirements for contract security companies and employees who provide security services. These do not apply to proprietary security companies.
Licensure and registration are based on meeting general eligibility requirements. Maine does not currently mandate training or testing. Individuals who operate security agencies go through a licensing process. Licensees are responsible for making sure that their employees meet requirements set by the state.
Maine does not have a credentialing process for armed security officers. Gun laws are less restrictive than in many states. However, some employers may require permits even when not mandated by law.
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Security Guard Requirements
Employees of contract security companies must be citizens or resident aliens. They must have attained the age of at least 18. Additionally they must meet general fitness requirements, including not having been adjudicated as incapacitated and not being a threat to self or others. A person is ineligible if he or she has an outstanding warrant or has received a dishonorable military discharge within the prior five years. Any crime that could be punished with a sentence of a full year is disqualifying. Some other crimes are disqualifying if the conviction was less than five years earlier; these are listed in Section 9412. Additionally, if the individual has, in the prior five years, received three or more convictions with maximum sentences of less than one year, he or she is ineligible. In many cases, even juvenile crimes are disqualifying.
The security agency will investigate the backgrounds of employees. New hires are reported to the state. This is the employer’s responsibility. The Commissioner will need basic information such as addresses from the past five years.
The employer may need information normally kept confidential (such as records of involuntary commitment).
Security Agency Requirements
Those who head security agencies must meet similar character and legal requirements. Additionally, they must take financial responsibility for conduct. Licensees must have surety bonds.
Application materials can be downloaded from the website of the Department of Public Safety (http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/pi.html). A prospective licensee must certify to having read ‘Laws Relating to Private Security Guards’. The applicant will submit a recent photograph. He or she will sign a release form.
The release form notes that fingerprints will be required if there is any question as to identity.
Maine has no licensing regulations for armed guards but has a complex set of laws regarding who can carry a firearm and when it can justifiably used. The State Police website includes a link to laws regarding use of force in defense of persons and property (http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/weapons_self_defense.html). Individuals who carry firearms are “strongly encouraged” to familiarize themselves with circumstances where deadly force is justifiable. Those with questions are advised to consult a lawyer.
The private security handbook specifically states that security guards who transport valuables are allowed to have firearms in their vehicles, provided that such weapons are not concealed.
The Kittery Police Department has noted that it is recommended that anyone who carries a firearm possess a concealed firearm even though “open carry” is legal in Maine (http://www.kitterypolice.com/concealed-weapons-permit-1.html).
A permit holder will need training in firearms safety. State law allows training to be completed from any of multiple sources.
Concealed weapons permits also available from the State Police (http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/weapons_permits.html). In most cases, individuals go through their own city or town. The State Police website includes a link to local jurisdictions.
A new law that will go into effect in late 2015 allows many individuals to carry concealed weapons without a permit. A permit would be necessary in some cases such as if the individual were under 21 permit makes carry legal in some areas where it would not be legal otherwise.
(Bureau of Human Resources http://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/bhrsalary/jobs)
Security companies may set much higher standards than those required by law. A recent posting for armed security guard in Saco, Maine stipulated that the individual would be at least 25 years of age, hold a high school diploma, and have six years of firearms experience which could be in any of multiple fields including military and corrections, The candidate was expected to have a weapons license and to pass a drug test post-offer.
Another ad, for vault guard in Lewiston, sought an individual of at least 21 who had a firearms permit or ability to pass licensing requirements. Requirements were set somewhat lower: three months in a related field such as cash handling ( http://www.simplyhired.com/job/vault-clerk-job/brinks-co/c53igj56ig?cid=ysjjrapyagqxqnibvztesgawtpnpisia).
Notably, some ads are placed by major security companies with multi-stare presence.
Some security professionals are hired into the public sector. At the level of ‘watchperson’. expectations are a high school diploma, a year of work experience requirements, and class C driver’s license; the latter is expected before permanent status is awarded. Expectations may be set higher for particular job vacancies.
A capitol security screener is expected to hold high school diploma or equivalency and have two years of experience in security.
Information about security guard requirements is available from the Maine State Police (http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/pi.html). The licensing agency can be reached by telephone at (207) 624-7210.