Private Security Services Act

In California, the Private Security Services Act (starting with Business and Professions Code Section 7580), requires that private security companies and their security officer employees be properly licensed. These licenses are issued and regulated by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).

Business and Professions Code

Business and Professions Code §7582.1(e), defines a “security guard or security officer” as a person who furnishes a service, the purpose of which is:

“… to protect persons or property or to prevent the theft, unlawful taking, loss, embezzlement, misappropriation, or concealment of any goods, wares, merchandise, money, bonds, stocks, notes, documents, papers, or property of any kind…”

Section 7582.8 of the Business and Professions Code establishes the requirements for a person to successfully apply for a security officer license. The code requires that the applicant:

  1. Must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Must not have been convicted of a crime or have performed an act involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit.
  3. Must comply with requirements regarding licensing (must pass the Powers of Arrest Test examination with 100% accuracy).



Background Checks

Before receiving a license, a security officer must pass a criminal background check. The individual’s criminal history will be investigated by the State Department of Justice using a national database.


Effective July 1, 2004 the minimum training requirements for a newly licensed security officer are 40 hours of training (no doubt you are aware of this since you are reading this module!). The Powers to Arrest examination provides detailed information for the security officer. Each security officer must complete a training course of approximately eight hours in length. (Bus. & Prof. Code Section 7583.7) After passing the test and the background check, the security officer is ready to be licensed.

If the officer will be required to carry a firearm or baton in the performance of the security duties, the officer will also need to undergo additional training.

Expiration and Renewal of License

A security officer license shall be renewed every two years. If the license is renewed prior to its expiration, the officer must simply apply and pay the renewal fee. However, if the license expires, the officer must also pay a delinquency fee. A person may not act as a security officer if the officer’s license has been suspended for any reason.

The Relationship between a Security Officer and a Private Patrol Operator

A Private Patrol Operator is a security firm. It must have a license from the Bureau of Investigative Services. The PPO shall require any employee hired as a licensed security officer to have a valid license.