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

An ever-increasing number of businesses and organizations are hiring private security guards to protect their patrons, employees, and property.  As discussed here, to improve training and certification standards for these security guards and reduce the potential for fatal errors in judgment, Governor Wes Moore signed Senate Bill 760 into law on May 16, 2023.

The bill created Chapter 763 of the Acts of 2023 (“Chapter 763”), which set forth new requirements for businesses and organizations that employ private security guards (“security guard employers”) but are not security guard agencies. Under the new law, security guard employers can only hire a security guard if the individual is certified as a security guard by the Secretary of State Police (the “Secretary”), unless one of two exceptions are met (discussed below). 

Due to recent incidents involving the unjustified use of force by security guards, Chapter 763 also mandates that security guard employers obtain general liability insurance and certify this coverage with the Secretary.  Further, because incidents involving the use of force often go unreported, Chapter 763 requires security guards and security guard employers to report incidents of “use of force.” The Secretary is tasked with developing procedures to implement these requirements.

The original effective date of these changes was June 1, 2024.  However, in part to allow additional time for the State Police to finalize its procedures, Governor Wes Moore recently extended the effective date of Chapter 763 to January 1, 2025, when he signed Senate Bill 729 into law.  This bill also set forth a new reporting requirement for health care facilities that employ security guards.

Security Guard Hiring Requirements

As noted in our prior article, Chapter 763 created and expanded certification requirements for security guards.  As of January 1, 2025, security guard applicants seeking certification must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Certify that they have not been convicted of a disqualifying crime or a crime of violence, or, if a current or former police officer, that they were not found to have used excessive force or have made false statements during employment with the law enforcement agency;
  • Submit documentation that they have completed 12 hours of initial security guard training that was approved by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (unless the applicant was a police officer within the 3 years preceding the submission of their security guard application); and
  • Obtain a valid Maryland handgun permit if the security guard will carry a firearm.

However, a security guard employer may employ an uncertified security guard if:

  • The security guard employer submitted the unlicensed security guard’s application for certification to the Secretary, along with the unlicensed security guard’s fingerprint cards and record fee, and the Secretary has not disapproved the application; or
  • The unlicensed security guard obtained and currently possesses certification as a police officer through the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission.

Insurance Requirements for Security Guard Employers

Effective January 1, 2025, security guard employers must obtain, maintain, and submit proof of general liability insurance, including errors and omissions and completed operations, in the following amounts:

  •  If employing five or more individuals as security guards: $1,000,000 total aggregate minimum.
  • If employing less than five individuals as security guards: $500,000 total aggregate minimum.

If the security guard employer’s insurance is cancelled, forfeited, or otherwise terminated, the employer must notify the Secretary.

Reporting Requirements for Security Guards and Security Guard Employers

Except for employers of security guards in health care facilities as provided in Senate Bill 729, security guards and their employers will be required to report incidents involving the use of force.  Following an incident where any force was used against a person, a security guard must report the use of force to their security guard employer within 48 hours, unless the security guard is seriously injured or disabled, using the form provided by the Secretary.  The security guard employer must then submit a use of force report to the Secretary within 48 hours of receiving the form from the security guard.  The report must include:

  • The type of encounter;
  • The type of force used;
  • The location of the incident where use of force occurred;
  • Whether the person against whom force was used was arrested;
  • Whether the person against whom force was used required medical care;
  • The demographic information about the security guard involved in the incident and the person against whom force was used—including race, ethnicity, gender, and age; and
  • The Secretary’s form completed by the security guard that used force.

Senate Bill 729 requires that use of force reports exclude information prohibited from disclosure by state or federal law.

New Reporting Requirements for Health Care Facilities That Employ Security Guards

Effective January 1, 2025, health care facilities will be required to submit a report to the Secretary every seven days that contains:

  • The number of code greens initiated for combative persons within the preceding seven days; and
  • The number of code purples initiated for security-only responses within the preceding seven days.

Given these requirements for security guard employers, businesses, organizations, and health care facilities seeking to hire security guards should consult with counsel to ensure their compliance with upcoming certification, insurance, and reporting requirements. Please contact Melissa Jones or any member of the Tydings Employment and Labor Law practice group if you have questions or would like assistance with compliance.

This article has been prepared by Tydings for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.