New Hiring and Insurance Requirements for Maryland Businesses and Not-For-Profit Entities That Employ Private Security Guards

As we know all too well, no place in America is immune from the scourge of gun violence and other crimes. Houses of worship, schools, retail stores, restaurants, office buildings and other workplaces, and anywhere else people gather can become tragic scenes in an instant. As such, it is unsurprising that more and more businesses and organizations in Maryland and across the country are hiring private security guards to protect human lives and property.  

But how effectively these guards fulfill their mission – and avoid making potentially fatal errors in judgment - depends greatly on their training, education, and experience. Accordingly, Maryland recently passed a new law that will raise certification and training standards for security guards. Additionally, the new law requires all Maryland businesses that employ one or more armed security guards to ensure that those guards are licensed by the State Police. Previously, the law only required that security guards employed by “security guard agencies” (businesses that contract out security guard services) had to be certified by the State.

Security Guard Hiring Requirements

Signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore on May 16, 2023, SB 760 goes into effect on June 1, 2024. Specifically, the law requires that an employer may employ a security guard to provide security guard services only if the individual is certified by the Secretary of State Police (the "Secretary") as a security guard. The law further expands the certification requirements for security guards in several key areas:

  • Security guards must be at least 18 years of age;
  • Security guards must submit documentation that they have completed 12 hours of initial security training approved by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (unless the applicant has been employed as a police officer in the 3 years preceding the security guard application); 
  • Applicants for a security guard license must certify whether they have been previously convicted of a crime of violence or other disqualifying crime; and
  • All security guards who carry a firearm must have a valid Maryland handgun permit.

In addition, the law will require security guards seeking recertification to satisfactorily complete eight hours of continuing security training.

Of course, employers may still contract with a licensed security guard agency to provide security guard services.

Insurance Requirements for Entities That Hire Security Guards

In part due to recent incidents involving the unjustified use of force by security officers that caused injuries or fatalities, the new law imposes liability insurance requirements on employers of security guards.

Employers must maintain commercial general liability insurance, including errors and omissions and completed operations, in the following amounts:

  • Employers that employ five or more individuals as security guards: $1,000,000 total aggregate minimum.
  • Employers that employ fewer than five individuals as security guards: $500,000 total aggregate minimum.

Employers must submit proof of the required insurance to the Secretary and notify the Secretary if the insurance is canceled, forfeited, or otherwise terminated.

Given the new law, businesses and not-for-profit organizations seeking to hire private security guards should consult counsel to ensure they do not violate the law's certification and insurance requirements. Please contact Melissa Jones or Casey Brinks at Tydings with any questions or concerns.