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Regulating Private Security: Changes to the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004

Recent changes in Illinois state rules may affect a number of operational aspects for businesses in security-related fields such as private detectives, alarm systems, fingerprinting, or locksmiths. Effective June 2019, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation adopted a range of amendments to the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004. While most of these changes are minor, a few have real implications for security personnel, firearm owners, fingerprint vendors, and canine handlers, among others.

Part 1240 of the Illinois General Assembly’s Administrative Code governs the regulation and licensure of an eclectic group of professions that have been collected under the broad umbrella of private security.

The first notable change applies to registered employees of a private detective, private alarm or private security agency… or as an armed employee of a proprietary security force, and clarifies that online courses/instruction are not acceptable methods of training for anyone whose occupation falls into the two employment categories (Section 1240.505). The required 20-hour basic training course is “limited to classroom instruction,” The meaning through lectures, study papers, class discussion, textbook study or other means such as video or closed-circuit instruction.

Another important addition to the code is found in Section 1240.530, Firearm Control Cards. In this section, the code already exempts state and federal peace officers from the requirement to obtain firearm control cards. However, new language now further exempts such individuals from obtaining a card even after they are no longer employed as peace officers if the individual obtains a permanent employee registration card, possesses a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, and is in compliance with the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 (18 USC 926B and 926C). If the former peace officer is carrying a firearm under these conditions, the amendments require the agency employing the individual to submit notice of the employee’s compliance every two years to the Division of Professional Regulation in the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as well as notify the Division of the employee’s termination. The amended code clarifies that active-duty police officers who are working second jobs as unarmed or armed security guards or private investigators who are exempt from the requirement to have a permanent employee registration card or firearm control card must be employed by the State, a political subdivision of the State, or a federal agency.

In this same subsection, further provisions were added to specify which firearms the holder of a firearm control card could carry while on duty or while commuting between his or her home and place of employment. For employees of a registered armed proprietary security force, a firearm control card authorizes them to carry one or more revolvers, semi-automatic handguns, rifles, or shotguns, as well as tasers, stun guns, tear gas projectors, billy-clubs, and similar devices (1240.530 3(A)).

For fingerprint vendors, the amended code shifts the responsibility for Illinois State Police certification of fingerprint equipment from the fingerprint vendor (individual licensee) to the licensed agency. Under Section 1240.535 Fingerprint Vendors Records, licensed fingerprint vendors must now provide every fingerprinted individual a “transmission control receipt” that shows the transaction control number and the name and license number of the licensed fingerprint vendor taking the fingerprints.

Finally, the adopted rules in Section 1240.700, Canine Handler Training Course Requirements, added a provision to include alternative canine training if conducted by a law enforcement agency, the military, or a training facility located outside of Illinois that is substantially similar to the training required under the rules. The code also specifically names the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) as an entity with the power to establish certification standards for canine handler examinations.

Across the board, these and other changes will no doubt impact the way in which many individuals in the security industry conduct their activities. With the additional oversight and clarification these changes bring, only time will tell whether that impact will help or hinder security sector employees.

If you are a licensee and are being investigated by IDFPR, consult with a lawyer experienced in dealing with IDFPR enforcement actions.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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