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California Guard Card

In California officers are licensed through the issuance of a security registration card, or Guard Card as it is commonly called.

To qualify for unarmed licensure, the applicant must have attained the age of 18 years and be willing to go through a criminal background check process. Those who have committed crimes will have their specific circumstances considered on a case by case basis. There is an appeals process for those who have been denied a Guard Card because of a past criminal conviction.

Security licensees must take 40 hours of training. The training may be administered by either a registered California private patrol operator or a certified security training school. No officer can start work without first taking eight hours of training. In the first 30 days of the officer's job he must sit for an additional 16 hours and take the final 16 hours within six months of his commencement of work. Additionally, prior to seeking a firearms license the officer must take 14 hours of armed security training.

There are several costs associated with registration. The officer must pay a $50 application fee and a $49 fingerprinting fee. Those applying for a firearm permit must pay an additional $38 firearm eligibility application fee and an $80 application fee.

Once secured, the security guard's registration does not have to be renewed for 24 months. The Guard Card costs $25 to renew.

Step By Step Directions for Seeking a California Guard Card

  • 1. Take the eight hour Power to Arrest training course and examination from a licensed California security instructor. This course may also be taught by the officer's hiring company. This training is a prerequisite for the officer. It should advise the officer on his rights to effect a citizen's arrest and his responsibilities to notify the arrestee of the reasons for the arrest.
  • 2. Apply for registration. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services allows applicants to apply online through the Buerau's registration portal. At $51 fee must accompany the online application.
  • 3. Visit a live scan site and submit your fingerprints for the required criminal background check. This will cost $49. A list of live scan sites can be found on the California Attorney General's website.
  • 4. Download the approved registration from the Bureau's website. Once approved, the new California security officer's registration may be found online and printed out. This print out will function as the Guard Card until the actual card arrives in the mail. Purportedly, the Guard Card should be available online within about a couple of weeks or so following the submission of the Live Scan fingerprints.
  • 5. Within 30 days of commencing work take the required 16 hours of training from either the employing security company or a licensed training facility.
  • 6. Within six months of commencing work sit the final 16 hours of required training.
  • 7. Take the additional 14 hours of firearms training to apply for a firearms license.
  • 8. Submit the firearm permit to the Bureau.

Note: Certain training centers may combine the first eight hour training course, application and live scan fingerprinting into one single action that may be completed at the schools.

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