Photo of security guard shirt backDid you ever consider what qualifies someone to be a security guard? If you’re looking for expert public or private security, it’s up to you to perform your own due diligence.

Although each state has its own standards to become a professional security guard – some states in fact have virtually none. This means it’s possible that the security guards you hire may not be vetted, trained or certified in any way. Just as some government agencies by law do not have to disclose exactly what chemicals are in our food and household items – many security companies do not advertise who is really inside their security uniform.

I am a business owner, private detective, former educator, former probation officer, and life-long volunteer fire fighter. I’m going to put on each hat in order to provide some insight into the best way to hire qualified security guards. Here’s how to make sure that the security guards you hire are vetted, trained and certified professionals.

At the absolute minimum, your security guard company should be held to the same common sense hiring polices you would expect in any skilled industry. Start by asking if they’ve performed these fundamental hiring practices:

  • Resume Review
  • References Check
  • Personal Interviews
  • Basic Training & Orientation

The security industry is about managing risk, loss and liability. As a Licensed Private Detective, I suggest you require these additional documents to ensure your security company is state compliant and that you’re protected against liability:

  • State & Federal Background Checks (State Criminal History & FBI Criminal History)
  • State Licenses & Guard Certifications (As Required by your State)
  • Proof of Insurances (At least $2 Million based on your Industry)
  • Pre-employment Drug Testing

As a firefighter for over forty years and former educator, I also suggest the following clearances, checks and qualifications to ensure your security guards are of the highest caliber:

  • Industry Specific Clearances (such as State Child Abuse History Clearance)
  • CPR/AED (Red Cross Certified)
  • Evacuation Coordination (In Case of Emergency, Hazard or Crisis)
  • Lethal Weapons Training Certification
  • Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB)
  • Specialized Security and Protection Skills Taught by Certified Trainers

As the CEO of a security company I suggest that you request the resumes and photos of your assigned guards as well as references from other companies like yours. The security guard resumes should include certified training and verifiable experience, including:

  • Law Enforcement Experience – Active or Emeritus
  • Police Academy Graduate Certified
  • Military Experience
  • Correctional Officer Experience
  • Associate or Bachelor Degree in the Criminal Justice Field
  • Public Safety Experience

As you perform your due diligence, remember to confirm that your security partner has the assets, inventory and infrastructure to meet your future business or private security requirements.

Stuart Visnov is the Chief Executive Officer of Echelon Protection & Surveillance and can be reached at (610) 831-0277 or