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armed security guard, armed security officer, private security officer

About one million Americans work as security guards, twice the number of those serving as police officers. While the data does not include the number of guards who carry arms, Shoshana Walter, public safety reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), says that the security guard industry is a parallel universe where the expected norms of policing simply don’t apply.

About one million Americans work as security guards, twice the number of those serving as police officers. While the data does not include the number of guards who carry arms, Shoshana Walter, public safety reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), says that the security guard industry is a parallel universe where the expected norms of policing simply don’t apply.

“The security industry is very different from the law enforcement profession,” says Walters. “They have limited powers, they don’t have the same ability to detain or arrest, or as it relates to search and seizures. But they’re often taking on the same types of roles as law enforcement officers.”

Walters says that guards often have a small fraction of the training that police officers usually get. In the state of California, for example, a police officer is required to get a minimum of 600 hours of training—an armed guard gets about 54 hours.

“The difference there is huge,” she says.

In addition to training, regulations regarding background checks for armed guards also vary widely by state.

Read more about this story Want to Be an Armed Security Guard? It’s Terrifyingly Easy here.

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