Have the standards for private security guards become more stringent in the post 9/11 era? An assessment of security guard regulations in the US from 1982 to 2010
There has been a steady increase in security guard employment in the United States in recent decades. Data estimates for 2010 suggest that there are over 10 000 security companies in the United States, employing 1 046 760 guards. While security guards differ from law enforcement officers in many ways, they are similar to the extent that their activities bring them in close contact with citizens, and this raises issues of professionalism and accountability. Yet, relative to police officers, security guard training and licensing standards are not well established and in some contexts there are no regulations for security guards. The threat of terrorism has resulted in greater attention being paid to security guards for their role in safety and security work in the post 9/11 era; however, the extent to which this has affected licensing and training requirements for security guards is unclear. This study examines the nature and extent of security guard licensing and the minimum standards states impose on the industry. It also compares data from 1982 and 1998 with data from 2010, in order to determine whether states have increased the minimum standards relating to security guard regulations over the past 10 years.