Pennsylvania: Armed Security Officers
Legislation and Details for Pennsylvania
The Private Detective Act of 1953
Chapter 21. Administration of the Lethal Weapons Training
Pennsylvania Statutes Title 22 P.S. Detectives
In Pennsylvania, only security businesses are required to obtain a license certificate.
The Private Detective Act of 1953 states in part:
“(a) The holder of any license certificate issued pursuant to this act may employ to assist him in his work of private detective or investigator as described in section 2 and in the conduct of such business as many persons as he may deem necessary, and shall at all times during such employment be legally responsible for the good conduct in the business of each and every person so employed and shall be responsible for the reasonable supervision of said employee’s conduct.”
See: Private Detective Act of 1953 Section 13(a)
The individual applies directly to the security agency for employment by providing an “employee’s statement”. It is the responsibility of the license certificate holder to take steps necessary to verify the information provided by the applicant.
See: Private Detective Act of 1953 Section 13(b) and (c)
Private Detective Act of 1953: Section 6(a) states:
Pennsylvania applicants file by Petition.
For armed security officers, Act 235 of the Pennsylvania Code governs the process. The Act lays out a series of requirements overseen by the Pennsylvania State Police.
See: Act 235
See: Initial Certification Application
Fees: Section 6(a) of the Private Detective Act of 1953 and 37 Pa. Code § 21.13(2)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Code provide:
$200 Security Guard License Fee
Lethal Weapons Certification:
$50.00 Lethal Weapons Application Fee
$22.60 Fingerprint fee – paid to MorphoTrust
$30.00 Certification Fee – paid on the TACS website
$102.60 Total Fees
Retrieved from Section 6(a)
The applicant must be at least 18 years of age
See: Initial Application
Section 4(a) of the Private Detective Act of 1953
The applicant must be a citizen of the United States
See: Private Detective Act of 1953
Pennsylvania lays out no specified experience criteria although it grants a wide array of exemptions for other public service in policing and law enforcement.
Section 21.14 of the Pennsylvania Code
Waiver of Training
A person who has completed a course of instruction in a training program approved by the Commissioner may request a waiver of the academic or firearms training provisions.
Section 21.15 of the Pennsylvania Code
Exemption for active full-time police officers
(a) An applicant who is employed as a full-time police officer, as defined in § 21.1 (relating to definitions), shall be granted an exemption from the application fee.
(b) An applicant who was employed as a full-time police officer, as defined in § 21.1, before June 19, 1974, and who has continuously maintained full-time police officer employment since that date, shall be granted an exemption from the following application requirements:
(1) Physical testing.
(2) Psychological testing.
Section 21.16 of the Pennsylvania Code
Exemption for Retired Police Officers
(a) An applicant who is a non-disability retired police officer of a Commonwealth municipality or the State Police shall be initially certified under the act, and need not meet the training and qualification standards or physical and psychological qualifications, if he was a full-time police officer for at least 20 years, retired in good standing and has assumed the duties of a privately employed agent on or before 3 years from the date of his retirement.
See: 37 Pa. Code § 21.14,
Lethal Weapons Training Act of 1974, P.L. 705, No. 235 Section 7 (c)
Every certified individual shall carry his wallet or billfold size certificate on his person as identification during the time when he is on duty or duty or going to and from duty and carrying a lethal weapon
Section 4(a) of the Private Detective Act of 1953 states “Good character, competency and integrity of each person or individual so signing such application.”
Private Detective Act of 1953, Section 4(a)
For Security Guard Petition:
Submit fingerprint cards, along with application, to the Clerk of Courts. Fingerprinting provided by municipal police department or any Pennsylvania State Police Station, except PA Turnpike locations.
For Firearms Application:
37 Pa. Code § 21.13(3)
Must undergo fingerprinting by the receiving State Police Officer upon satisfactorily completed application form.
Applicant must apply through specified services for subsequent assessment by the Pennsylvania State Police offices.
Private Detective Act of 1953
and Chapter 21 Lethal Weapons Training Act
Submit the application the applicant will receive an automated email from Identigo/Morphotrust with instructions for scheduling a fingerprint session. The applicant must be fingerprinted at one of the approved Identigo/Morphotrust locations Opens In A New Window. The applicant will not receive the results of the fingerprints, these will be forwarded directly to the Lethal Weapons Certification Unit for review.
See: Initial Certification Application
37 Pa. Code § 21.13
The applicant must be free from the addictive or excessive use of either alcohol or drugs.
37 Pa. Code § 21.11.3
(3) Physical standard. The applicant must be personally examined by a doctor of medicine licensed by the Pennsylvania Board of Medical Education and Licensure or a doctor of osteopathy licensed by the Pennsylvania Board of Osteopathic Examiners and found to be physically fit to handle a lethal weapon. The examination shall include the following elements:
(i) Neurological condition. The applicant must be free from a debilitating condition, such as tremor, uncoordination, convulsion, fainting episodes, and the like.
(ii) Cardiovascular condition. The applicant’s physical condition must be such that he could reasonably be expected to withstand significant cardiovascular stress.
(iii) Intoxicants. The applicant must be free from the addictive or excessive use of either alcohol or drugs.
(iv) Visual acuity. The applicant must have a visual acuity of at least 20/70, uncorrected in the stronger eye, correctable to at least 20/20; and 20/200, uncorrected in the weaker eye, correctable to at least 20/40, and must be free of any significant visual abnormality.
(v) Audio acuity. The applicant must be able to distinguish a normal whisper at a distance of 15 feet. The test shall be independently conducted for each ear while the tested ear is facing away from the speaker and the other ear is firmly covered with the palm of the hand.
(vi) Other conditions. The applicant must be free from any other significant physical defect or disorder which would, in the physician’s opinion, impair the applicant’s ability to handle a lethal weapon.
See: Physical Examination Form
37 Pa. Code § 21.11.4
(4) Psychological standard. The applicant shall be personally examined by a psychologist who is licensed by the Pennsylvania Board of Psychologist Examiners and found to be psychologically capable to exercise appropriate judgment or restraint to handle a lethal weapon at the time of the examination. The examination shall include the following elements:
(i) Interview and history. The psychologist must personally interview the applicant, which interview shall include a summary of the applicant’s personal, educational, employment, and criminal history, if any.
(ii) Required personality test. The applicant must be administered any current standard form of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) which shall be administered by the licensed psychologist or a paraprofessional employed by and under the direct control and supervision of the licensed psychologist.
(iii) Other testing methods. If the licensed psychologist is unable to certify the applicant’s psychological capability or risk to exercise appropriate judgment and restraint in the handling of a lethal weapon at this time, after conducting the test, the psychologist must personally employ whatever other psychological measuring instruments and techniques are deemed necessary to form his professional opinion. The use of these instruments and techniques requires a full and complete written explanation to the Department.
(iv) Submission. The examining psychologist must forward the psychological examination form to the Department within 15 days of the examination, even if the applicant is found to be psychologically at risk. The Commissioner may utilize the results of the psychological examination for up to 6 months from the date of the examination after which the applicant must be reexamined. No person who has been found psychologically at risk in the exercise of appropriate judgment and restraint in the handling of a lethal weapon may reapply for certification until after 1 year from the date of being found psychologically at risk.
According to the Private Detective Act of 1953, Section 6(b) states that
no such license shall be issued to any person who has been convicted in this State or any other state or territory of a felony, or any of the following offenses:
(1) illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon;
(2) making or possessing burglar’s instruments;
(3) buying or receiving stolen property;
(4) unlawful entry of a building;
(5) aiding escape from prison;
(6) unlawfully possessing or distributing habit forming narcotic drugs;
(7) picking pockets or attempting to do so;
(8) soliciting any person to commit sodomy or other lewdness;
(9) recklessly endangering another person;
(10) making terroristic threats; or
(11) committing simple assault.
To obtain a Lethal Weapons Certification, the applicant must have no conviction of a disqualifying criminal offense as defined in 18.Pa.C.S. Section 6105; no conviction of misdemeanor of the first degree or higher; no conviction of a crime of violence.
See: Private Detective Act of 1953 Section 6(b)
According to the Private Detective Act of 1953, Section 4 states that not less than five reputable citizens of the community in which such applicant resides or transacts business, or in which it is proposed to own, conduct, manage or maintain the bureau, agency, sub-agency, office or branch office for which the license is desired, each of whom shall certify that he has personally known the said person or individual for a period of at least five years prior to the filing of such application, that he has read such application and believes each of the statements made therein to be true, that such person is honest, of good character, and competent, and not related or connected to the person so certifying by blood or marriage. The certificate of approval shall be signed by such reputable citizens and duly verified and acknowledged by them before an officer authorized to take oaths and acknowledgment of deeds.
See: Private Detective Act of 1953 Section 4(a)
To qualify for training, an applicant must complete an application for agent certification, which is available at any State Police station,
except a Turnpike or Interstate station. The applicant must also submit the items listed in 37 Pa. Code § 21.13
If the applicant qualifies for training, an approval to attend a certified training program will be issued to the applicant. The training program is prescribed by the Commissioner.
The applicant for armed security officer must complete a designated training program by choosing approved schools in the following manner:
(1) School selection. The applicant shall select a certified training school from a list provided by the Commissioner.
(2) Length of approval eligibility. The Commissioner’s written approval to attend a certified training program will be valid for 6 months from date of issue.
(3) Training program. Upon completion of the required training program, the applicant shall proceed as follows.
(i) Successful completion. To successfully complete the required training program, an applicant must attain a minimum score of 70% in the academic module and, if applicable, 75% in the firearms module. Upon notification of successful completion of the required training program, the applicant shall immediately tender to the certified training school, a certified check, cashier’s check or money order, in the amount of $25, made payable to the ‘‘Pennsylvania State Police.’’ Personal checks will not be accepted. This fee is not refundable.
37 Pa. Code § 21.19
Must attain a minimum score of 70% in the academic module and 75% in the firearms module.
Upon successful completion of training, the applicant must login to TACS using his/her last name, full birthday, and full social security number to submit the $30.00 certification fee by credit card payment.
See: target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”Initial Certification Application
No baseline requirement