Unguarded: State Senator Pushing For Security Guard Industry Reform
TULSA, Oklahoma - Following our investigation with The Frontier into how the state struggles to properly license and regulate security guards, at least one state lawmaker is already pushing for change.
For State Senator Kevin Matthews, public safety should be the number one priority for state leaders. That's why he's championing bills that strengthen security guard training requirements and push to ensure CLEET is properly funded.
It's CLEET’s responsibility to ensure security guards are properly trained, licensed, and removed if they commit a disqualifying conviction.
The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, however, admitted to News On 6 it can barely keep up with applications.
CLEET director, Steve Emmons, said, "It's a challenge for us to be able to look, to do a thorough job on all of them."
As we reported in our exclusive investigation with The Frontier, CLEET is struggling to ensure security guards are fit for a job very similar to police - with an application review staff of just four, and one person to investigate wrongdoing.
“We have people that have the same ability to kill, but not the same responsibility to be trained," Matthews said.
The state senator said he's introduced a bill that would require additional on-going training and demand security guards and their companies have more insurance should one make a mistake while working.
Matthews said, "The training ought to go with it, and then the additional liability insurance ought to go with it."
The bill hasn't garnered enough of other lawmaker's support.
"In some cases, individuals can be armed and actually go to work before the full background check is completed because of the lack of resources," Matthews said.
It’s a reality that has the state senator concerned for people's safety.
Matthews said, "Of course, just like most everything else that we have related to education and training, is underfunded."
So, he is starting a task force to find money to better fund CLEET.
"I think that whenever life and death is involved, it's a priority," he said.
Matthews is also pushing to require on-going drug testing for all security guards, believing if your job is to be armed with the ability to kill the state should know you aren't impaired.