Armed Security Guards in Boston Must Be Licensed
|Boston City Council
Committee on Government Operations
Maureen Feeney, Chair
February 23, 2010
The Committee on Government Operations held a working session to discuss an ordinance requiring licensure of armed security guards (Docket #0258). This matter was sponsored by Councillor Consalvo, referred to the Committee on Wednesday, February 10, 2010, and discussed at a working session on Monday, February 22,2010.
The ordinance requires any person employed as an armed security guard in a public place within Boston to be licensed by the Boston Police Department (BPD) as a special officer. Currently, not all armed security guards are designated special police officers. Special officers must undergo training requirements approved by the Boston Police Department and carry special police authorities, including arrest authority.
At the working session, several individuals participated, including representatives from the Boston Police Department, Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and private security guard companies. At the working session, it was agreed upon that the fourth WHEREAS regarding policies in place in other states would be removed from the preamble to the Ordinance to avoid confusion on the scope of the ordinance.
At the working session, it was determined that an additional term be added to the language in 17-17.1 to clarify Armed Security Guard or Watchmen Registration. The language “where applicable” will be added, stating: “where applicable, b) to demonstrate that such person is an employee of a licensee authorized to engage in such business pursuant to M.G.L. c. 147 § 122-30.” This change assists in defining the registration procedure for those working as individuals for a business and those employed by a security company to guard a business.
At the working session, it was agreed upon that language be added that takes into consideration the commitment to current contracts related to private security guards. The new language provides for the Commissioner to establish rules and regulations under his powers to specify registration requirements and timelines. In drafting the rules and regulations implementing this ordinance, the Police Commissioner will work with security companies to address the contract timing requirements. It is understood that some existing contracts will not end until after the schedule for implementation; therefore, security guards who are under contract are exempt until the contract expires and is renewed.
It also exempts armed guards that are State-licensed Special Police Officers, and those licensed under other statutory or regulatory provisions. This new draft addresses the legal and procedural concerns raised, while ensuring the public safety of the citizens of Boston. BPD will have approximately six months to promulgate new rules and regulations specifically tailored to meet the goal of licensing armed security guards. This new licensing system will ensure that armed security guards are properly and consistently trained and qualified to act with such authority. The ordinance also will provide the Boston Police Department with information on those individuals
throughout the City who are licensed and trained to assist with law enforcement duties as needed.
This piece of legislation brings Boston up to date with many other municipalities and states that already require similar licensure.
As the Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, to which the following was referred:
Docket #0258, An ordinance requiring licensure of certain armed security guards and licensure as special police officers based on information presented at the hearing and public comment gathered by the Committee and having considered the same, respectfully recommends that this matter ought to pass in a new draft.
Maureen Feeney, Chair
Committee on Government OperafionsOffered by Councilors ROB CONSALVO and MAUREEN FEENEY
City of Boston
IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND TEN AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING REGISTRATION OF CERTAIN ARMED SECURITY GUARDS AND LICENSURE AS SPECIAL POLICE OFFICERS WHEREAS, Armed security guards operate in public places and patrol inside businesses that solicit the general public and on public ways; and, WHEREAS, The only permitting requirement for such guards is firearm licensure; and, WHEREAS, Often times these individual security guards are dressed in army fatigues or other official looking uniforms and this appearance coupled with a gun presents an air of authority and responsibility; yet many of them do not register or notify public authorities of their presence; and, WHEREAS, Several other states require individual security guard licensing. Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont require some form of individual security guard registration and company licensing structure; and, WHEREAS, Requiring any armed security guard operating openly among the general public in the City of Boston to be licensed by the Boston Police Department would ensure that said armed individuals’ presence preserves the peace and good order in public places. The City of Boston has a strong interest in its prudential affairs and internal police to protect and preserve the peace and good order by requiring individuals who are hired to carry weapons in public places, including those businesses that solicit the general public, to be properly licensed by, and registered with, the Boston Police Department; and, WHEREAS, Licensure and registration of armed security guards operating openly in public places, where the risk of error and harm to the public is high, is a reasonable mechanism to ensure the security of our community; and, WHEREAS, It is in the best interests of the City, the public, and businesses and employees that
hire armed security guards to ensure that those with the armed appearance of authority are properly licensed and registered. NOW, THEREFORE
Be it ordained by the City Council of Boston, as follows:
Offered by Councilor ROB CONSALVO
SOURCE: City of Boston