Arkansas: Armed Security Officers

Legislation and Details for Arkansas


Arkansas Code Title 17 ‐ Professions, Occupations, and Businesses
Subtitle 2 ‐ Nonmedical Professions
Chapter 40 ‐ Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies
Department of Arkansas State Police Rules for Licensing and Regulation of Private Investigators, Private Security Agencies, Alarm Systems Companies, Polygraph Examiners, and Voice Stress Analysis Examiners

Authorizing Department

Arkansas State Police
One State Police Plaza Drive
Little Rock, AR 72209
Official Website

Licensure and License Fees

In Arkansas full licensure is reserved to security businesses alone. Individuals employed by such licensed business are required to obtain “Credentials”, an authorization granted by the Department of Arkansas State Police to an individual to perform the duties of a private security officer.

The Private Security Officer(PSO) is the unarmed officer while the state designated the Commissioned Security Officer(CSO) as the armed officer.

Arkansas Code §17-40-102(11) provides the following definition of the CSO:
“Commissioned security officer” means a private security officer to whom an authorization to carry a firearm in the course of his or her employment has been issued by the director.

If a licensee hires an individual required to be credentialed by the Department, the licensee must file an application to obtain a credential for the employee within 14 days of the hire.
See: Rule 2.13 New Employees.

Armed proprietary security officers are not required to obtain credentials from the department. The code states:
If the security department of a private business or school hires or employs an individual in the capacity of a commissioned security officer or commissioned school security officer, the security department of the private business or school is not required to make application to the Department of Arkansas State Police for any license under this chapter.
See: AR Code §17-40-103( b)(1)

$40.00 – Application Fee
$22.00 – State Background Check Fee
$11.25 – Federal Background Check Fee
$1.00 – Federal Background/INA Fee
$2.00 – Federal Background Check Fee
$76.25 Total

See: CSO Application Form

Foreign Jurisdiction Licensure


§17-40-301 (a) (2)
License required. It shall be unlawful Perform any service as or engage in the business or business activity of a security services contractor or alarm systems company unless the person has obtained a license as a securities services contractor or alarm systems company under this chapter.

Age Requirements

Applicant must be at least 21 years of age.
See: AR Code §17-40-337(a)(1)


US citizen or legal resident. According to the application, for a non-US citizen, the person must be able to provide proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.

See: CSO Application Form


None required


The exemptions listed under §17-40-103, are as follows:
(a)   This chapter does not apply to:
(1) A person employed exclusively and regularly by one (1) employer in connection with the affairs of that employer only and where there exists an employer-employee relationship;
(2) An officer or employee of the United States, of this state, or of a political subdivision of either, while the employee or officer is engaged in the performance of official duties;
(3) A person not in the employ of another law enforcement officer and who has part-time or full-time employment as a law enforcement officer and who is certified by the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training as a law enforcement officer and receives compensation for private employment on an individual or an independent contractor basis as a patrolman, guard, or watchman if the person is:
(A) Employed in an employee-employer relationship; or
(B) Employed on an individual contractual basis

See: AR Code §17-40-103 for a full list of exemptions.

Training exemption: According to the PSO Application  and Rule 10.6, certified law enforcement officers are exempt from the training requirements. The officer must be a current, active law enforcement officer.

Permit Required

The Director of the Department of Arkansas State Police may determine the qualifications for and issue an authorization to carry a firearm in the form of a commission to a qualified security officer or qualified school security officer that shall be held during the course of his or her employment.
See: AR Code §17-40-330

Requirement to carry an ID card

Rule 5.5. Identification – All licensed, credentialed, or commissioned individuals shall wear their pocket identification or credential card in plain sight while performing any functiondescribed in A.C.A. § 17-40-102 and produce said card upon request in such a manner thatenables the requestor to identify the licensee, credential holder, or commission holder.

Moral Character

A.C.A. § 17-40-307 (a) (8-9) An application for a license or credential under this chapter shall be in the form prescribed by the Director of the Department of Arkansas State Police and shall include:

(8) A verified statement disclosing any record of arrests, pending criminal charges, or convictions of the applicant of a felony, Class A misdemeanor, a crime involving an act of violence, or any crime involving moral turpitude, including those that have been sealed or expunged;

(9) Information that may be required by the director that would show that the applicant is honest, trustworthy, and of good character.


The applicant shall submit two classifiable sets of fingerprints.
See: AR Code §17-40-307(a)(6)

The applicant’s fingerprints must be submitted to be used to check the criminal history records of the FBI as noted on the PSO application.

Rule 2.6.Fingerprinting for initial application – In the event a legible and classifiable set of fingerprints cannot be obtained, as determined by the Division or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the applicant shall be contacted and shall be required to be fingerprinted again. After two (2) unsuccessful fingerprint card submissions, a name search through the FBI will be conducted. Electronic capture of the fingerprints of the applicant on a device and in a manner approved by the Director is allowed. The Director shall determine the applicant’s eligibility for licensing only after successful completion of the FBI fingerprint-based check.

Substance Abuse

Under Arkansas Code §17-40-306(a)(5), the applicant must: “[n]ot be suffering from habitual drunkenness or from narcotics addiction or dependence.” See also Arkansas Code § 17-40-337(a)(9).

Mental Health

The applicant must not have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent or have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or to a mental health treatment facility.
See: AR Code §17-40-306(a)(5)

Criminal History Background Check

A commission as a commissioned security officer or a commissioned school security officer shall not be issued under this chapter to an individual who:
2)   Has been found guilty of or who has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the following offenses, whether or not those offenses have been sealed or expunged:
(A)  An offense listed under § 17-40-306(d);
(B)   A crime involving the use of a firearm; or
(C)   A crime involving the use of alcohol while in possession of a firearm;
See: AR Code §17-40-337(a)(2)

The Director of the Department of Arkansas State Police may deny, suspend, or revoke a commission as a commissioned school security officer or a commission as a commissioned security officer if the applicant for a commission or the commission holder is indicted or arrested for one (1) of the following offenses or a comparable offense in another state:
(1)   A felony;
(2)   A Class A misdemeanor;
(3)   A crime involving an act of violence;
(4)   A crime involving the use of a firearm;
(5)   A crime involving the use of alcohol or drugs while in possession of a firearm;
(6)   A crime that results in the person’s disqualifying himself or herself from legally possessing a firearm under state or federal law; or
(7)   A crime involving moral turpitude.
See: AR Code §17-40-344

Personal References


Training Requirements

Rule 10.3. Phase I – the training requirements for Phase I must be taught to all PSO, CSO, and CSSO applicants and shall consist of eight (8) hours minimum on the following subjects:

(a) Legal Authority

(i) Legal authority of PSOs;
(ii) Classification of crimes;
(iii) Arrests and detentions by PSOs;
(iv) Use of force, including:

(1) Non-deadly force;
(2) Deadly force;
(3) Civil penalties; and
(4) Criminal penalties.

(v) Case studies and discussion;

(1) Common crimes encountered by PSOs;
(2) Other crimes; and
(3) Appropriate actions for PSOs.

(vi) Company/site/account specific legal issues – discussion geared toward the specific legal issues relating to the type of property to which the PSO is assigned (e.g. college, school, university, hotel, bar, etc.); and
(vii) A.C.A. §§ 17-40-101, et seq. and these Rules, including:

(1) Purpose of the statute;
(2) Who is covered by the statute;
(3) Definitions;
(4) Minimum qualifications for PSOs, CSOs, and CSSOs, including, but
not limited to:

a. Disqualifying factors;
b. Fee structure; and
c. Renewals.

(5) PSO, CSO, and CSSO responsibilities;
(6) Key provisions of the statute, including:

a. Training requirements;
b. Reporting requirements; and
c. Penalties for violations.

(b) Field Note Taking and Report Writing

(i) Importance and purpose of reports;
(ii) Required equipment and an explanation of importance;
(iii) Notebook contents and an explanation of importance;
(iv) The six (6) most important questions that must be answered by a report;
(v) A review of basic English grammar, and writing skills; and
(vi) Practical exercises, such as:

(1) A review of several examples of well written reports;
(2) A review of several examples of poorly written reports; and
(3) Practice of writing one or more reports and critique by the instructor.


Rule 10.4. Phase II – In addition to Phase I training, the training requirements for Phase II must be taught to all CSO and CSSO applicants and shall consist of sixteen (16) hours minimum (at least eight (8) hours in the classroom and eight (8) hours on the firing range) on the following subjects:

(a) Use of Deadly Force and Arkansas Law

(i) Relevant statutes and case law;
(ii) Discussion about fleeing individuals;
(iii) Discussion of the criminal ramifications of firing a warning shot;
(iv) Criminal penalties;
(v) Civil penalties; and
(vi) Other considerations.

(b) Weapons and Safety

(i) Fundamental firearm safety;
(ii) Weapons nomenclature;
(iii) Cleaning and maintenance;
(iv) Storage; and
(v) Weapon retention.

(c) Live Fire Training, Marksmanship, and Qualifications

(i) Range procedures and range safety;
(ii) Fundamentals of firearms;
(iii) Holster drills;
(iv) Movement drills;
(v) Dry fire exercises;
(vi) Clearing stoppages;
(vii) Practice and evaluation;
(viii) Tactical and emergency reloading;
(ix) Pistol qualification course – the course must mirror the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training ( firearms qualification course; and
(x) Rifle or shotgun qualification course – required if a CSO is required to carry a rifle or shotgun during the course of their employment – the course must mirror the www.clest.orgrifle/shotgun qualification course.

See: CSO Training Pages.

See: The Security Guard License Guide for more details.

Prove of successful completion of the training has to be provided with the application.
See: CSO Application



Rule 10.9. Renewal training requirements – renewal training for a PSO, CSO, or CSSO is required every two (2) years and must be completed within the twelve (12) month period prior to renewal. Renewal training must be completed and the applicant must submit certification that the renewal training requirements have been met before a credential or commission will be renewed. An individual may count completed hours of renewal training toward the minimum hours of refresher training required to be completed each year.

Rule 10.11. Renewal training requirements for CSOs – the training requirements for renewal of a CSO commission shall consist of a minimum of twelve (12) hours. The training shall include, but not be limited to, the subjects found in Phase I and Phase II, as described in Rule 10.4 and Rule 10.5, above. The renewal training shall include firing range qualification on an ALETA qualification course and a safety course.

Exam Requirement

Rule 10.1. Commissioned Security Officer (CSO) – An applicant for a CSO credential must complete Phase I and Phase II training requirements and pass an examination administered by the Training Administrator, Assistant Training Administrator, or Trainer

Rule 10.16. PSO, CSO, and CSSO examination – An applicant for a credential or commission under this Section must demonstrate his or her qualifications by successfully completing an examination developed and administered by a Training Administrator or Assistant Training Administrator covering A.C.A. § 17-40-101, et seq. and these Rules.

(a) The length and topics covered by the examination are as follows:

(ii) CSO examination – minimum of one hundred (100) questions on the subjects found in Phase I and Phase II as described in Rule 10.3 and Rule 10.4, above.
(iii) CSSO examination – minimum of 120 questions on the subjects found in Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III as described in Rule 10.3, Rule 10.4, and Rule 10.5, above.

(b) The applicant must take the examination in person. If the applicant is a partnership or corporation, the manager and any branch manager must take the examination.
(c) Scoring seventy percent (70%) or above on the examination constitutes successful completion.
(d) If an applicant fails to successfully complete the required examination he or she:

(i) Must wait five 5 working days to be eligible to retake the test; and
(ii) Pay a re-examination fee of $50.00 if the test is administered by the Division.

(e) Failure to successfully complete the examination after two (2) attempts shall result in cancellation of the pending application. Upon cancellation, the applicant must re-apply as a new applicant and is subject to pay the required application fees.



Child Support

The Department is required by Arkansas Law to suspend a license, credential, or commission if so ordered by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
See: Rule 6.5 Suspension for non-payment of child support

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