California: A New Guard License

In California, sInce approximately 1973, the California Guard Card has been the only security guard license that any type of security guard in any field could obtain. It consisted of 2 hours of training. If you worked as a night watchman, a retail store, at a bar, for a security company, the only license available was... the guard card. This type of generic, one size fits all security license changed very slowly over the years.

By 2007, the length of training had increased to 40 hours and also included a full criminal background check for anyone wanting to be a licensed security guard. At first glance, 40 hours of training might seem pretty good. The problem was that all those hours were generic and non job specific to the guards job, their duties and responsibilities.

Then, between the years 2006 and 2010, several Senate Bills were processed through legislative channels in California. Senate Bill 194, 666 and 741 were all game changers for California's security guard employees and all lumped together, created a new and different type of license any in house security guard. This new type of security guard was given a title of Proprietary Private Security Officer or PSO.

To be clear, as of January 1, 2011, there were two separate and distinct security guard training programs and licenses in California. The generic Guard Card and the job specific PSO Card. Guards working for a security company need to be licensed with the Guard Card. Any guard hired by a single employer or a single company to perform security for that single company needs the PSO Card.

So, what is the best type of license for a guard hired to work at a bar or club; a Bouncer. The question is asked all the time and depending on who is asked, the question might be answered a couple different ways. Let me try to answer this questions with the most common sense and accurate answer for you.

The largest area to consider is what training is required for each type of license. The Guard Card curriculum was written by the state and can't be altered one bit. It requires a total of 40-hours of generic security training covering WMD, Burglary, Robbery, Building Perimeters and more. Our PSO Card requires 16-hours of job specific security training covering Fake and Borrowed Identification, Narcotics and Club Drugs, Use of Force, Alcohol Service, Alcohol Liabilities, Citizen's Arrest and more. The Guard Card requires 8 hours of training just to go to work, then another 32 over the next six months. The PSO Card requires all 16 hours of training to legally work. Many people think that obviously 40 hours is better than 16 hours so the Guard Card is better.

Finally, the Guard Card teaches its students to "Observe & Report" and not to address a fight unless the guard is attacked. Our PSO training teaches "Observe, Interact & Report" and get involved early and often to proactively solve problems. The Guard Card teaches to call 911 for altercations. Can you imagine as a PSO, a Bouncer, calling 911 for every altercation? An in house guard, a bouncer, a PSO must be able to see problems and solve them without police involvement but also know when police should be called for assistance.

The choice on what type of guard should be used in a bar or club is pretty clear... a PSO licensed guard is by far the best based on their job specific training.

I know this is a large amount of information to soak in, so if you have any questions, and you most likely will, feel free to contact us.