Poor Training and Oversight, Lack of Mental Health Evaluations for Armed Security Guards Means Weak Professional Licensing
Police brutality and excessive force have dominated US headlines since the August death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. However, another group of enforcement agents can be a source of deadly or excessive force. Unfortunately, they are not subject to the same professional licensing or training standards as police officers: armed private security guards.
Armed security guards often look like police, with dark blue or black uniforms, firearms in hip holsters, and shiny metal badges on their chests. But these private security guards can receive professional licenses in their fields with hardly any training or regulation at all in most states, which can have deadly consequences.
For example, on June 1st, 2012, an armed security guard named Lukace Kendle was working at Club Lexx in Miami. Kendle said two African American youths who were going to the club threatened him, so he shot them both; in court, the surviving victim, who is paralyzed from the waist down, said that Kendle rushed them, and although they followed his directions, Kendle shot both victims.
On his professional license application, Kendle reportedly disclosed that he had a criminal history, but he failed to disclose that he had a history of alcoholism. During his murder trial, psychologists diagnosed him with several disorders, from impulse control disorder to schizophrenia spectrum with narcissistic and antisocial features. His alcoholism had led to his discharge from the Navy, and he had also reportedly had problems with a crack cocaine addiction. Federal law prohibits convicted criminals and those who have been committed to mental health institutions from owning or possessing firearms, but although Kendle had both on his record, the private security firm that hired him failed to do proper background checks for his professional license.
In California, armed security guards have less stringent professional license requirements than hair dressers or cosmetologists. A manicurist in California must undergo 400 hours of training, but armed security guards for private firms are only required to have 54 hours of training, and just 14 hours of firearms training. In at least 15 states, private armed security guards do not need any specific firearms training or evaluations to receive their professional licenses. Professional security guard licenses in 27 states do not require a criminal background check, meaning that convicted criminals are allowed to use firearms if they are hired as private armed security guards. Only 12 states require private armed security guard firms to report shooting incidents incited by their employees.
There are no federal training standards for armed security guards to receive professional licenses.
Private security firms have individual standards for their armed security guards, and although lack of regulation has failed in many cases, not all firms or guards have failed. Some firms have stringent individual regulations before issuing professional licenses to their armed security guards, including mental health and criminal history checks. Although professional licensing regulations on the state and federal level must become tougher for private security firms, these businesses can still defend their professional licensing choices in court.
Professional License Defense in South Carolina
The Strom Law Firm Professional License Defense Attorneys represents clients throughout South Carolina who are encountering challenges relating to a contractor, business or professional license. We will represent you during the investigative stage, in settlement, negotiation, and the formal Administrative Law hearing. The Strom Law Firm offers a free consultation to anyone considering hiring private counsel to defend their South Carolina Professional License. 803.252.480