Iowa: Unarmed Security Officers

Legislation and Details for Iowa



Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 661-121

Authorizing Department

Bail Enforcement/Private Investigative/Security Licensing
Program Services Bureau
Administrative Services Division
Iowa Department of Public Safety

215 East 7th Street, 4th Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0045
Phone: (515) 725-6230
Fax: (515) 725-6264

Official Website

Licensure and License Fees

In Iowa only security businesses are subject to licensure.
Individuals seeking employment with a licensed security business must obtain an identification card issued by the department prior to commencing employment.
See: Iowa Code 80A.7

The identification card is bound to a specific employer who files the application form along with two 1”x1”color photographs of the applicant and two fingerprint cards and associated fees to the department on behalf of the individual applicant.
See: IAC 661-121.6(1)

The individual applicant has to meet the requirements outlined for licensure as described in Iowa Code 80A.4(1) and IAC 661-121.5.
See: Iowa Code 80A.4(3) and IAC 661-121.6

Fees payable by the employer are:
$100.00   Two year license (for a bail enforcement business, a private investigative agency or a private secuirty agency)

$10.00   Employee ID
$30.00   Fingerprint Fee

See: A list of FAQ’s regarding the Iowa Licensure process (PDF)

Temporary Licensure
Iowa allows the issuance of a 14 day, temporary ID card for employed security officers as the full application is being processed.
See: Iowa Administrative Code at 121.11(2)

Foreign Jurisdiction Licensure

While as a general rule Iowa requires the firm or agency to be licensed, the state does not impose the licensure requirements on out of
state firms that in the furtherance of their businesses, peripherally contact Iowa citizens or entities.

The Iowa Code states: Any private investigative, private security, or bail enforcement business shall be licensed in Iowa if it is conducting business in Iowa.

As per IAC 121. 4, types of activities that are not, by themselves, viewed as demonstrating jurisdiction in Iowa include, but are not limited to, the following:(1) A non-Iowa-based private investigation business works on a criminal, civil, or administrative case that originates and is filed
in another state, but that contains some investigative elements in Iowa.

See: Chapter 121: Private Investigation, Private Security Businesses

Age Requirements

The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
See: Iowa Code 80A.4(1)


Licensure rules do not specify citizenship requirements.


Not required


80A.2 Persons exempt.
This chapter does not apply to the following:
1.  An officer or employee of the United States, of a state, or a political subdivision of the United States or of a state while the officer or employee is engaged in the performance of official duties.
2.  A peace officer engaged in the private security business or the private investigation business with the knowledge and consent of the chief executive officer of the peace officer’s law enforcement agency.
3.  A person employed full or part-time by one employer in connection with the affairs of the employer.
4.  An attorney licensed to practice in Iowa, while performing duties as an attorney.
5.   A person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and furnishing information regarding the financial rating or standing and credit of persons.
6.  A person exclusively employed in making investigations and adjustments for insurance companies.
7.  A person who is the legal owner of personal property which has been sold under a security agreement or a conditional sales agreement, or a secured party under the terms of a security interest while the person is performing acts relating to the repossession of the property.
8.  A person engaged in the process of verifying the credentials of physicians and allied health professionals applying for hospital staff privileges.
9.  A person engaged in the business of transporting prisoners under a contract with the Iowa department of corrections or a county sheriff, a similar agency from another state, or the federal government.
10.  A certified public accountant authorized to practice pursuant to chapter 542, while performing duties as a certified public accountant.

Permit Required

Not required

Requirement to carry an ID card

According to Iowa Code 80A.7 the department issues each employee of the licensee an
identification card in a form approved by the commissioner. The application for a permanent identification card shall
include a temporary identification card valid for fourteen days from the date of receipt of the application by the applicant.

However, the legislation does not specify the requirement to carry or display the identification card while on duty.

Moral Character

According to Iowa Code 80A.4 (3), each employee of an applicant or licensee shall possess the same qualifications required by 80A.4 (1) for a licensee. As such, pursuant to 80A.4 (1) (f) the applicant must be of good moral character and has not been judged guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude.


An application for an identification card shall include the submission of fingerprints of the person seeking the identification card.

Fees associated with the processing of fingerprints shall be assessed to the employing licensee.
See: Iowa Code 80A.7(5)

Substance Abuse

According to Iowa Code 80A.4 (3), each employee of an applicant or licensee shall possess the same qualifications required by 80A.4 (1) for a licensee. As such, pursuant to 80A.4 (1) (d) is not addicted to the use of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Mental Health

The applicant must not have a history of mental illness or instability.
See: IAC 661-121.5(9)

Criminal History Background Check

According to Iowa Code 80A.4 (3), each employee of an applicant or licensee shall possess the same qualifications required by 80A.4 (1) for a licensee.
As such, pursuant to 80A.4(1):

(c)   Has never been convicted of a felony or aggravated misdemeanor.
(g)   Has not been convicted of a crime described in section 708.3, 708.4, 708.5, 708.6, 708.8, or 708.9.
(h)   Has not been convicted of illegally using, carrying or possessing a dangerous weapon.
(I)   Has not been convicted of fraud.

The fingerprints may be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the state criminal history repository for the purpose of a national criminal history check.
See: Iowa Code 80A.7(5)

Personal References

None required

Training Requirements

Not required

Exam Requirement

Not required

Child Support

According to Iowa Code § 252J.1 through 252J.9, the state may revoke or deny the giving of any business, driver’s, occupational, professional, or recreational permit or license for failure to pay child support.

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