Security Guard License Requirements in Montana
Montana’s private security guards are licensed by the Montana Board of Private Security. They must be licensed unless they fall under exemption categories identified in state statute (http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/37/60/37-60-105.htm).
Security guards who will carry firearms must pursue a firearms endorsement.
The Montana Board issues a number of other licenses, including resident manager. All contract security companies and proprietary security organizations are required to have an individual who serves in this role and who is typically present during weekday hours. Resident managers qualify through education and/ or employment experience.
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Montana Private Security Guard Requirements
Private security guards must be at least 18 of age (http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/37_60_3.htm). They must be citizens or permanent U.S. residents. They receive their licenses only after they have been employed by a contract security company or proprietary security organization.
The individual must meet fitness requirements. He or she must have good character and must not suffer from chemical dependencies or habitual drunkenness. An applicant will be disqualified on the basis of having been declared incompetent by a court or having been convicted of a felony offense or other crime involving dangerous weapons or moral turpitude. (Individuals are eligible if they have received pardons or had their competency fully restored.)
Training is required. A security guard can expect to receive the mandated training from his or her contract security company.
Armed Guard Requirements
A security guard who will carry a firearm will need an additional permit. He or she must complete a Board-approved course. Training may be provided by a Montana Certified Firearm Instructor (CFI) or a Montana POST-certified instructor.
Board certified instructors teach a state-mandated curriculum which includes firearm familiarization, safe handling, shooting judgment, issues regarding use of deadly force, and civil and criminal liability (http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?RN=24%2E182%2E801). The prospective armed guard will take a written test and a proficiency test; the instructor will be responsible for determining competency.
Armed guards must requalify on a yearly basis.
Montana Resident Manager Requirements
A resident manager must meet experience requirements. The licensing agency can accept employment or vocational training.
The applicant must demonstrate two years of experience. Job experience can be obtained as an 1) employee in the field, 2) a sworn member of a police, investigative, or law enforcement department or agency, or 3) an administrator or supervisor in governmental or industrial security.
The Montana Law Enforcement Academy basic course is credited as six months of experience.
The Board can instead accept four semesters of vocational training in security operations; to be credited for a semester of training, the student must take 12 credit hours.
A resident manager can also be licensed on the basis of combined experience, training, and education. In this instance, experience should account for at least half the requirement.
The prospective resident manager will be expected to pass a written test, though the requirement may be waived in some cases (http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?RN=24%2E182%2E505). Applicants are scheduled for examination. The examinee is expected to score at least 70% on each portion. Retakes are permissible.
Background Check Requirement
Applicants must have criminal history checks carried out by the Montana Department of Justice and the FBI. The licensing agency notes that many law enforcement agencies can perform this service. Required information (including ORI number and reason for fingerprinting) can be found in the application packet. The background check carries a $27.25 fee; this is in addition to any fees that may be charged by the fingerprinting agency.
Fingerprint cards and fees are mailed to the Montana Department of Justice.
The Application Process
Application forms can be found on the website of the Montana Board of Private Security (http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/psp_board/board_page.asp). There are separate application packages for security guards and resident managers.
The applicant will need to document age and citizenship or legal residency status. In the case of U.S. born citizens, both these requirements can be satisfied with a copy of a birth certificate. The licensing agency will also require a passport-style photograph.
A security guard application package must include a copy of the training certificate. A guard who is requesting the firearms endorsement will also provide a copy of his or her firearms certification.
Resident manager applicants may use various documents, for example, copies of diplomas, transcripts, and certificates, to document qualifications.
A security guard applicant will need to provide a character reference. A resident manager applicant will need to provide three character references. References will mail the completed forms directly to the Board office in Helena.
An applicant who has held an occupational license in another state must provide a verification form; this documentation is also to come straight from the source.
An applicant who answers “yes” to questions about adverse professional or legal history will need to provide supporting information. The licensing agency will require documents pertaining to charges and judgments or dismissals.
Application documents must be translated if they are in a language other than English.
The security guard application carries a nonrefundable fee of $100. The armed endorsement carries a $50 fee. A resident manager applicant pays a $175 application fee and $20 examination fee.
Staff review materials for administrative completeness and, in the case of routine applications, handle processing. The process takes about a month. Non-routine applications are reviewed by the Board; Board review can extend the process by several months.
Applicants are invited to call the Board or email their questions.
Private security licenses are renewed on an annual basis.
Licensing information is available from the Montana Board of Private Security (http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/psp_board/board_page.asp). Licensing statutes (http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/37_60_3.htm) are available online. Staff can be reached by telephone at 406-841-2300 or by email at ‘dlibsdpsp at mt.gov’.