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SB 760 & SB 729 - Security Guard Requirements

Disclaimer: Laws change all the time. Do not depend on this text for accuracy. The following is not legal advice. Check with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.

What is SB 760?

SB 760 (2023) was passed into law by the Maryland legislature in 2023 and was supposed to take effect June 1, 2025 (more on this later - See SB 729). The law basically established the following:

Unarmed bar security is exempt from this requirement.

  1. All security guards in Maryland, whether they work for a security guard company or directly for a private employer, must be licensed by the Maryland State Police licensing division. This requires completing an application, submitting fingerprints (from a LiveScan location), submitting photos, and paying $15.00 per security guard.

  2. All security guards are required to undergo a minimum of 12 hours of initial training and then 8 hours of in-service training every three years.

  3. All properties that employ security guards must carry a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance if they employ under 5 security guards total. If they employ over 5 security guards total, then they must carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance.

  4. All uses of force over that of a simple escort must be reported to the Maryland State Police licensing division.

  5. All armed security officers are required to have a handgun permit issued by the Maryland State Police.

You can read this law in it's entirety: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/SB0760/?ys=2023rs

 

What is SB 729?

SB 729 (2024) changed several reporting requirements that apply only to medical facilities and their use of force reporting requirements. However, a major change to SB760 was the effective date. This pushed back the effective date of SB 760 to January 1, 2025 instead of June 1, 2024 as it was originally written and passed. The Governor of Maryland, Wes Moore, signed this into law on May 16, 2024.

You can read about it here: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/SB0729

 

FAQs​

I want to start a security guard or private detective company, is there any licensing that I need to get?

Yes. You are required to be licensed by the Maryland State Police licensing division. Generally, you must have 5 prior years in law enforcement or investigations in order to become licensed. The license also requires that you carry a minimum of liability insurance. Members of MISA enjoy the assistance of other members who can help you achieve your goals. We also offer online training, networking, and much more.

 

More information on how to become licensed as a security guard agency can be found here: https://mdsp.maryland.gov/Organization/Pages/CriminalInvestigationBureau/LicensingDivision/ProfessionalLicenses/SecurityGuard.aspx

More information on how to become a licensed private detective agency can be found here: https://mdsp.maryland.gov/Organization/Pages/CriminalInvestigationBureau/LicensingDivision/ProfessionalLicenses/SecurityGuard.aspx

I own a business but I employ my own security guards, do I need to get a security company license?

No. However, after January 1, 2025, all of your security guards must be licensed and trained, as seen above.

I want to become a security guard or private detective, how do I go about it?

You must apply to an agency or business that will employ you as a security guard. After January 1, 2025 you will be required to take an initial 12 hour class to become certified.  You can obtain your own private detective license if you have been in law enforcement or investigations over five years. Currently, you can only obtain a security guard certification if you work for a security guard agency. As stated, this will change after January 1, 2025.

What is a Special Police Officer (SPO)?

A special police officer is a commissioned officer who works directly for the property where he/she is licensed. Special police officers are required to complete an 80-hour initial course and must go through licensing with the Maryland State Police. Special police officers have arrest powers on the private property where they are assigned. You can take the course in advance of being employed but will not be commissioned until you complete the application working for the property and they endorse your application.

Can I work for a security guard company and be a special police officer?

Yes and no. You can be a special police officer commissioned to work AT the location of the security guard company, but you cannot be a special police officer and work multiple locations for the security guard agency as a contract special police officer at multiple properties unless the security guard agencies own those properties. In other words, you cannot be "rented out" as a special police officer to clients of a security guard company.  You cannot represent yourself as a special police officer when you are off the property you are licensed to be an SPO. Special police officers in Maryland must work directly for the property as their employer which means typically that they are W2 employees of that property. 

How do I know if a security guard company is licensed? Can I hire an unlicensed security guard company?

Checking to see if a security guard company is essential because it limits your liability as a property owner. Unlicensed security guard companies are operating outside of the law and regulations therefore, any actions they may take while under your employ can constitute criminal and civil action against you as the property owner or management company. 

The best way to check if a company is licensed is to ask to see their license. They should have a document issued by the Maryland State Police with a license number. Then you can write an email to msp.securityguard@maryland.gov to check to see if the license is still in force. To check on investigation agencies you can write an email to msp.privatedetective@maryland.gov

There is a list of licensed agencies however, it is not updated regularly. To access an active list of Security Guard Agencies please CLICK HERE​​.

What happens if I find an unlicensed agency?

It can be reported. Please click here for more information.

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