District of Columbia: Unarmed Security Officers

Legislation and Details for District of Columbia


D.C. Municipal Regulations
Title 17. Business, Occupations, and Professional
Chapter 17-21. Security Officers and Security Agencies

Authorizing Department


Security Officers Management Branch address:
2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 302
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202)671-0500
Email: opla.security@dc.gov


Oversight for the licensure and regulatory oversight of the security officer has moved from the Metropolitan Police Department to the DC Office of Regulatory Affairs-Security Officers Management Branch. The Metropolitan Police Department still interacts with, provides policy materials and other interchanges with the security industry. MPD has constructed a new entity called “Security Snapshot.”

See: Security Snapshot

Contact the Security Officers Management Branch:
2000 14th Street, NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 671-0500
Fax: (202) 673-7418
Official Website

While these services still are connected to the DC Metropolitan Police SOMB, the processes are eventually moving to an online format and portal through PEARSON-Vue- the contact information being
See: District of Columbia Security

Licensure and License Fees

In D.C. individual security officers must obtain a “Certification”.
See: DCMR §17-2102.1

DCMR 17 §2100.2
The term “security officer” includes the following:
(a)   Uniformed individuals employed by a security agency or other employer for any of the purposes set forth in § 2100.1; and
(b)   Uniformed individuals privately employed as guards, watchpersons, patrol service personnel for specified property, security technicians, security officers, and other similar positions.

$65.00   Application Fee
$38.00   License Fee
$62.00   Exam Fee
$165.00 Total

Security Officer licenses expire on April 30, even-numbered years.

Retrieved from: Security Officers Management Branch(SOMB)

Age Requirements

The applicant must be a least 21 years of age
See: DCMR §6-A1100.7(a)

See: Application instructions


The applicant must be a United States citizen or have in his or her possession a valid Immigration and Naturalization Service work permit.
See: DCMR §17-2102.3(b)

Applicants for Security Officer must submit a copy of their birth certificate and legal documentation supporting any name change with the application, i.e. marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption papers.

Original birth certificates and name change documents submitted will not be returned. If the applicant is not a citizen of the United States, proof of immigration status must be submitted for certification as a security officer. (Example: Resident Alien Card, Green Card, Employment Authorization, Certificate of Naturalization or I-94 Departure Record.)

Retrieved from Application Instructions


No baseline requirement


The term “security officer” does not include any of the following:
(a)  Persons commissioned as special police officers under the second paragraph of the section “FOR METROPOLITAN POLICE” of An Act Making appropriations to provide for the expenses of the government of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred, and for other purposes, approved March 3, 1899 (30 Stat. 1057; D.C. Official Code § 5-129.02);

(b)   Persons working in their official capacity as employees of the federal government;

(c)   Members of the Metropolitan Police Department or the public police force of any other jurisdiction;

(d)   Persons working as armored car guards; or

(e)   Persons commissioned as campus police officers under the second paragraph of the section “FOR METROPOLITAN POLICE” of An Act Making appropriations to provide for the expenses of the government of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred, and for other purposes, approved March 3, 1899 (30 Stat. 1057; D.C. Official Code § 5-129.02), as regulated by Chapter 12 of Title 6A of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.
See: DCMR §17-2100.3

Permit Required

Not required

Requirement to carry an ID card

According to DCMR §17-2111
1.   Upon certification by the Mayor and payment of a five dollar ($5) fee, each security officer shall receive an identification card containing a photograph of the security officer, the name and business address of the officer’s employer, and a statement that the bearer is not a police officer and only has the powers of an ordinary citizen.

2.   The identification card shall be carried on the person of the security officer whenever he or she is engaged in his or her duties and shall be exhibited upon request to any person with whom the security officer may come in contact in the performance of his or her duties.

Moral Character

No baseline requirement


Fingerprinting required for certification will be processed at the Security Officers’ Management Branch (SOMB).
Contact SOMB for hours of operation, 202-671-0500. The following required items must be presented at the time of fingerprinting along with a money order, cashier’s check or company check in the sum of thirty-five dollars ($35.00) made payable to the D.C. Treasurer:
•   Notarized Arrest Affidavit and Resident & Employment Log
•   Notarized Authorization to Release Information Form,
•   Drug Screening Results
•   Exam Scores

Applicants from another city or state may mail completed fingerprint cards (ink prints) to the SOMB from their local jurisdiction. In such case, two (2) fingerprint cards are required per applicant for licensure.

Submit to:

Metropolitan Police Department Security Officers Management
Branch 2000 14th Street, N.W., Room #302 Washington, DC 20009

Retrieved from Application Instructions
See: DCMR §17-2106

In keeping with the general trend towards online processing, DC now requires the scheduling an online appointment for fingerprints.
See: Fingerprint Appointment System

Substance Abuse

The applicant must not be addicted to drugs or alcohol.

A drug screening from a certified laboratory must also accompany the application. The applicant MUST be tested and screened at the levels for drugs that are outlined by employer. Applicants who test POSITIVE for any drugs must submit medical documentation from the prescribing physician supporting the positive reading. This statement must be on letterhead from the attending physician’s office and have the original signature of the doctor. Physical exams and drug screening results must be completed no later than ninety (90) days prior to the date of the application process.

Retrieved from Application Instructions
See: DCMR §17-2103.1(a)

The applicant shall be required to pass a drug screening administered by the security agency or employer upon initial application and upon application for certification renewal.
See: DCMR §17-2103.4

Mental Health

The applicant must not suffer from any debilitating mental defect or disorder.

Applicants are required to submit medical documentation certifying that he or she is physically and mentally capable of performing security related functions. The original signature of the doctor and the date must appear on the physical. Applicants being treated by a private physician for an existing medical condition must also submit a doctor’s statement, from that physician, which indicates the condition, will not prohibit the applicant from performing security related functions. Physical exams must be completed no later than ninety (90) days prior to the date of the application process.

Retrieved from Application Instructions
See: DCMR §17-2103.1(b)

Criminal History Background Check

According to DCMR $2105.1
No person shall be certified or employed as a security officer, nor shall an existing security officer have his or her certification renewed, until the Mayor has conducted a criminal history check of the applicant through the record systems of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Metropolitan Police Department.

A background investigation will be conducted on each applicant to include the record systems of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Background checks require approximately ninety (90) days to complete
Retrieved from Application instructions

The applicant has to submit a notarized Arrest Affidavit and an Authorization to Release Information

Personal References

Not required

Training Requirements

Security Officers need training at many stages of their career from pre-licensure to annual renewal.
According to DCMR Title 17, these various stages are summarized as follows:

§2108.7   Security officers shall be required to satisfactorily complete pre-assignment, on-the-job, and in-service training programs which have been prescribed and approved by the Mayor.

§2108.8   Pre-assignment training shall include at least 24 hours of training generally relating to the security officer’s duties and specifically including:
(a)   Terrorism awareness, including building evacuation, unattended packages, and unknown substances;
(b)   Emergency procedures, including evacuation and first-aid; and
(c)   Customer service and interaction with tourists.

§2108.9  Security officers shall satisfactorily complete a 16-hour, on-the-job training course within ninety (90) working days following employment, and an 8-hour annual in-service training course.

§2108.10   Upon satisfactory completion of a required training course, a security officer shall receive from his or her employer a certificate evidencing satisfactory completion thereof.

See: Security Officer Study guide

See also: Heightened requirements are currently being proposed in DC for Security Officers and Special Police Officers

Exam Requirement

All Security Officer Applicants must pass the Security Officer Examination in conjunction with submitting their new license application to Pearson VUE.
For further instruction contact the OPLA Examination Unit at (202) 442-4363.

Retrieved from Application instructions

Child Support

Due to the most recent amendment to the D.C. laws (DC Law 13-269 –“Child Support and Welfare Reform compliance Amendment Act of 2000,” effective March 31, 2001), the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is now required to collect and maintain Social Security Numbers in licensee files.
Retrieved from Application instructions

More Information
Go to Top