Private Security Persons Requirements in Wisconsin

Wisconsin regulates armed and unarmed security guards. They are termed “private security persons’. An individual must be credentialed unless he or she is exempt under state law. An individual hired to provide security services directly to a business may be exempt. An individual who works for a security agency will be credentialed.

Security guards who will be armed will need firearms permits. Those who are in business for themselves must also apply for agency licenses. All credentials are issued by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

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Requirements for Private Security Persons

A security guard must meet character and fitness requirements. The guard cannot use drugs or alcohol in an excessive manner. He or she cannot have a mental or physical condition that would preclude competent practice. Felonies are permanently disqualifying unless a pardon was granted. An applicant could be denied a credential on the basis of a misdemeanor.

Additional Requirements for Armed Security Guards

An armed guard must hold a firearms permit. The firearms permit requires 36 hours of training. The instructor must be Department-certified; the Department has provided a list of potential instructors (

The curriculum will include the following:

  • Safety rules, dangers, and firearm cleaning Care, handling, and usage
  • Legal use of firearms
  • Moral and ethical issues
  • Lawful detentions
  • Criminal and civil liability

The trainer will sign a certification of proficiency.

Up to 30 hours of the initial training may be waived in some instances. In order to qualify for a waiver, the individual must have been authorized by another jurisdiction to carry firearms at some point during the prior five year period; the authorization may have been as a security guard, private investigator, or peace officer. The professional must have had at least 30 hours of training that covered the essential elements, with the exception of Wisconsin law. He or she will need six hours of refresher training.

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A temporary permit does not authorize armed service.

A certificate of proficiency is good for one year. The armed guard will complete six hours of refresher training to demonstrate continued proficiency.

The firearms permit is agency-specific. A guard who goes to work for another agency will need a new permit.

The Background Check and Application Process

Wisconsin requires federal and state background checks. Prospective permit holders are to have their fingerprints made before application. They will use the approved vendor, Fieldprint ( Fieldprint operates Livescan (electronic) fingerprinting sites throughout Wisconsin. The individual must schedule in advance; this step can be carried out online. There is a $39.25 fee. The applicant will need to bring two forms of ID to the fingerprinting site.

Fieldprint also operates sites in other states; out-of-state candidates can select from these. The applicant will need to enter the correct code. This is available on the DSPS website (

The application is to be submitted within 14 days of fingerprint submission. The applicant will note the date of fingerprint submission on the application form.

Applications for private security persons are available from the Department of Safety and Professional Services ( Applicants may use the Online Licensure Application System, OLAS (

An applicant who has ever had a criminal conviction will need to submit Form 2252: Convictions and Pending Charges. The licensing agency will require a self-explanation as well as official court records and evidence of compliance with orders. An applicant with adverse professional history (for example, disciplinary action or lawsuits) will also need to attach supporting documentation.

There is a $75 credentialing fee.

A private security person may be granted a temporary permit that authorizes unarmed service pending results of the required background checks. The applicant must clear a criminal records check carried out by the Department of Justice. There is a $10 fee for the temporary permit and an $8 fee for the records check.

Private security permits are renewed biennially during even-numbered years.

The licensing agency must be notified of any changes in employment.

Requirements for Sole Proprietors

An individual who is in business for himself or herself will need a liability insurance policy in the amount of $100,000. If firearms will be used, they must be covered under the policy. The agency will need to compose a firearm policy and provide a copy to the licensing agency. If firearms are not used, the licensing agency may accept a bond in lieu of an insurance policy.

Applications are available from the Department of Safety and Professional Services ( An applicant for a security guard agency license will use the private detective agency license form; the DSPS notes that security agencies are statutorily licensed as private detective agencies.

The agency fee is also $75.

Agency licenses are renewed biennially on odd numbered years.

Additional Information

Information about security guard credentialing is available from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services ( The licensing agency can be reached by telephone at (608) 266-2112 or by email at ‘DSPSCredSecurity at’.

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Statutes and administrative code are available online (