Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

Those individuals wanting to provide services related to security for private structures and entities must apply for and obtain a registration as a Security Guard in California. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, under the authority of the Department of Consumer Affairs, regulates all matters related to registration, including requirements, issuance and renewal, and the conduct of credential holders. In order to qualify for a Security Guard registration, candidates must meet age requirements, as well as training, examination and a background check. California does allow applicants to handle the registration process online, so long as they adhere to the Live Scan forms submission policies for fingerprinting and other support documentation.

Obtaining a license

A person seeking to be employed by a private patrol company to protect person and property must apply for a Security Guard registration. To be eligible, candidates must meet certain minimum requirements:

  • Be age 18 years or older;
  • Pass a criminal history background check as administered by the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and,
  • Complete a 40 hour training requirement and testing, which may be administered by a licensed private patrol operator or a Bureau approved training facility. The 40 hour training hours must be completed as follows:
  • 8 hours prior to being assigned on post, including four hours each of Power to Arrest and Weapons of Mass Destruction/Terrorist training;
  • 16 additional hours of training within the first 30 days, including eight hours each of Bureau approved courses and electives; and,
  • 16 additional hours of training within the first six month period, including eight hours each of Bureau approved courses and electives.
Maintaining a license

A Security Guard registration is valid for two years, and shall be renewed by paper or online application thereafter. License holders are eligible to complete online renewal so long as:

  • The registration expires within 90 days of the application;
  • The registration is less than 60 days delinquent;
  • There are no outstanding fines as assessed by the Bureau; and,
  • The license holder does not have a Bureau-issued Firearm Permit.

The cost to renew a Security Guard registration is $35.

Continuing education requirements

All individuals holding a registration as Security Guard are required to obtain additional and/or remedial instruction in topics related to private security. The Bureau has established eight hours annually as the minimum threshold of continuing education, and it may be provided by an approved training facility or by the licensed private patrol operator.

Disciplinary actions

The Bureau has oversight over all matters related to Security Guard license holder discipline, including consumer complaints. There are strict requirements that Security Guards, while on assignment, must have a Bureau issued registration and valid government issued photo identification on their person. Violations of the codes of conduct or findings of the Bureau based on a complaint are punishable by suspension, probation or revocation of Security Guard registration.

Live Scan forms submission

The Bureau has established rules enabling applicants for an initial Security Guard license to apply online, if they simultaneously submit fingerprints from the California Department of Justice Live Scan technology. There is a DOJ fee of $32 and an FBI fee of $17, which are paid at the Live Scan site; several sites are located throughout the State of California. In addition to the Live Scan processing fees, there is a Security Guard application fee and $1 convenience fee for filing online.