Time running out for security guards to get licensed

Law also requires bouncers, loss prevention officers to be certified

 UPDATED 12:07 AM HST May 10, 2013
Certification now tougher for security guards
HONOLULU -

We normally don't notice them unless there's a problem. Now, many security guards are facing a problem of their own.

The rush is on for thousands to get certified and licensed for a new state law.

Beginning July 1, all security guards, bouncers and lost prevention officers in Hawaii must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, have no psychiatric or psychological disorder and complete a nationwide background check.

They should have also completed eight hours of classroom instruction, a $45 course that's been hard to get in.

"Part of the problem is just that there are curriculum-qualified people out there to do the training, but it's a matter of getting the locations and getting the classes set up," said Jeffery Owens of Transcend, Inc., the author of one of three approved training curriculum.

The course is available at five of the state's community colleges, including Honolulu, where Alicia Ramos is a security guard. Yet, she's employed by one of many companies that decided to take training into their own hands.

"Star Protection really (made) it easier for us," Ramos said. "They just invited us in our office and (that's where) the lessons (were) conducted."

Once complete, all security guards have to pass a written test, four hours of on-the-job training and apply for a license from the state Board of Private Detectives and Guards.

Executive officer Charlene Tamanaha said, "They're working overtime now to license those that have been approved and reviewed and ready to go."

The state says the application has been available since January. So far, they've received about 1,200. There are about 10,700 security guards in Hawaii, according to a 2010 state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations estimate.

"Now is when the push has been and we've gotten hundreds of applications at a time so it is difficult to try and you know, yield through and through that," Tamanaha said.

License fees range from $73 to $106.

All security guards, bouncers and loss prevention officers must be licensed by July 1 or risk losing their job.

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