Have you ever wondered just how thorough of a background check is conducted of security guards? Did you ever think just maybe the guard on your property may have a criminal background? Is it possible the state of Texas is allowing and licensing convicted criminals to work in the security industry? Are criminals working security guard jobs?
Short answer: Yes… and possibly working on your property right now!
DPS-RSD will allow and license convicted criminals and non-Us citizens to work security. It is true. If you are a convicted felon and your crime is over ten years, the state of Texas will license you with no problem. If you have a misdemeanor conviction which is over five years, the state of Texas will license you to work security and safeguard people and properties – jaw dropping huh…
Security companies that claim they do background checks mostly rely on the state’s finding; they generally don’t go any further. Statistics show that repeat offenders in the U.S., commit crimes again – hence, the terminology “repeat offenders.”
Why these low standards exist in the security industry of all places is unknown; many would agree, it should not be taking place in an industry where the guards are providing services at all types of locations to include: Daycares, retirement homes, apartment complexes, banks, jewelry stores – and mostly unsupervised themselves… kind of risky right/
When a client is contracting with a security agency they assume and are told that background checks are done, and that every guard showing up on their property is “clean as a whistle;” sadly, that this is not true and a large number of guards working in the industry have criminal records.
If we want the image of security to be taken seriously and pay to increase, this has to change and the industry’s image must be cleaned up. Guard companies are aware of this, as they are employing these individuals often for low wages, therefore they want to remain silent on the issue.
Question for Guard Companies:
What is your plan when an incident occurs which involves your employee who is a convicted felon? What will be your statement to the media or your client? Think about it for a minute: either way you answer the question regarding your knowledge of a convicted felon makes your company look bad.
Hypothetical Answer #1: “We thought he was fine because DPS does the background checks. We had no idea.” This is not a good answer, as a company is supposed to conduct their own background checks also – at least that is what most guard companies advertise on their websites and literature, to include DPS requires it. This answer makes you look negligent, untrustworthy, and as if you provide false advertising.
Hypothetical Answer #2: “Yes, we knew he was a convicted felon but DPS cleared him.” This answer is not good either, as you are admitting to placing a convicted felon on a client’s property without notifying them; your clients would have grounds for a lawsuit should an incident occur. This answer, like the prior one, makes you look negligent, incompetent, and places the clients in jeopardy, to include your company’s reputation.
While recommendations are being sent to the Board, we suggest educating the general public about the standards of this industry and how your company is different. Offer proof of drug tests and criminal backgrounds of your staff to your clients; this will drive the other guard companies hiring felons out of business. It does a client no good to show them what nice uniforms or patrol vehicles you have when a convicted felons are representing you and your clients.
Did you know?
Ex-felons cannot possess a firearm and cannot work as a Commissioned officer or a Level-4 Bodyguard (as a Commissioned license must be possessed with the Level-4), so most remain as a non-commissioned Level-2 (unarmed guard) for that exact reason.
Ex-felons cannot take the Level-3 class for educational purposes, as they cannot not possess the firearm required to complete the course. Additionally (by state law), ex-felons cannot wear body armor; this clearly exemplifies even further why convicted criminals shouldn’t pursue this particular industry.
Security clients across the state who “assume” all their guards have a clean background would be shocked and horrified to learn they might have an ex-felon or guard with a criminal background on their property working right now. This should be addressed immediately!
Why security associations such as ASSIST, DPS, Homeland Security, the Governor’s office and the Board, have not brought this issue to the forefront remains a mystery. The security industry cries for the public’s trust and to be seen and paid as professionals, but how professional can you be with known criminals working for your company?
Hundreds of people have asked “How do we raise the pay, trust, and standards in the guard industry?” The answer (which every security company already knows), is ignored or not welcomed, is to first clean up their ranks and terminate convicted criminals, then stop hiring new ones.
Secondly, embrace training and stop running from it or just doing the minimum (this goes for the companies and the guards). Implement 100% drug tests with 100% MMPI’s across the board at all levels.
And lastly, if more security companies learned to work together, they could collectively address some issues with DPS-RSD as a large group; associations are awesome but if they have no bark or bite with the state, they are useless. When ASSIST contacts the state or DPS, they should send as much fear and have as much respect as the ACLU or the NAACP when they come knocking, but clearly they do not, which is another issue to address at a later date.