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State delays reduction in training requirements for security guard licenses

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(KUTV) – The Utah Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) has delayed the implementation a new law that reduces training requirements to obtain a security guard license.

The DOPL security licensing board made the decision after a public meeting Thursday where several people expressed concerns about the plan to drop the required training hours by two-thirds for new security guard licensees.

“Lives are in the balance,” Lionel Trepanier told the state board during public comment. “[Security guards] could easily come into criminal behavior by not understanding the limits or the expectations of the job.”

Trepanier says a security guard attacked him during a public protest outside the Wallace Federal Building in downtown Salt Lake City in 2014. Trepanier claimed the guard jumped him from behind as he walked away after a disagreement about the protest in the plaza.

“I was just overcome with grief that I was going to die,” Trepanier said of the attack.

Trepanier was hospitalized and later sued and settled his case with the security guard. He told the DOPL board that guards need more, not less, training before obtaining a license.

The rule change is the result of Senate Bill 197, which passed with unanimous approval during the 2018 Utah legislative session.

2News reported in June that some security instructors were concerned about S.B. 197.

The law amends administrative rules that currently require 24 hours of classroom or online training before new guards can apply for licensure. Under S.B. 197, that number would be reduced to only eight hours, but would increase ongoing training that guards must receive to 32 hours every two years.

“You can be a security guard for two years and then the state would require you to receive 32 hours of additional training after you’ve been performing the job on eight hours of training for two years. It’s just absurd,” Trepanier said.

Security industry leaders who spoke at Thursday’s meeting support the change in training requirements.

“We didn’t want to reduce our training, rather we wanted to reallocate it,” said John Tinsley, CEO of Centurion Security.

Tinsley also represents the Professional Alliance of Contract Security Companies (PACSCO) and helped get S.B. 197 passed during the legislative session. He told 2News that the current requirements made it difficult for candidates to enter the security industry.

“The 24 hours before they could get a job put just an enormous fiscal burden on people needing work and it also put a big burden on small businesses,” Tinsley said.

Tinsley argues the new requirements will enable companies to save money when they hire candidates but requires continual training once guards are licensed.

“On a national level, more training is going to need to be required as security officers are increasingly put in positions of trust,” Tinsley said.

The state licensing board also heard public comment that pointed to a recent case of a security guard charged with murder.

Timothy Lutes, 26, is awaiting trial after he was arrested by Salt Lake City Police for shooting and killing Thomas Stanfield in the plaza of the Heber Wells building.

Lutes was an armed guard with Citadel Security and contacted Stanfield early in the morning on June 20. Police reports indicate video shows Stanfield walking away from Lutes multiple times before Lutes allegedly shot him in the back.

Last year, a security guard lost his license for an incident in which he pulled out a gun and made a statement about ‘shooting someone from a city clock tower.’

There are 68 licensed security businesses in Utah that oversee approximately 5,200 unarmed private security officers and 1,800 armed private guards. Armed guards require an additional 16 hours of firearms training for licensure.

For comparison, DOPL requires nail technicians to complete 300 hours of training prior to licensure. Barbers must complete 1000 hours of training.

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DOPL told 2News in a statement that they will accept public comment on the rule change until Dec. 17. You can submit comment to Jana Johansen at DOPL anticipates further review on the rule change at it’s next board meeting in 2019.

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