Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF (233KB)   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
104th Congress                                            Rept. 104-827
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 2d Session                                                      Part 1
_______________________________________________________________________


 
         PRIVATE SECURITY OFFICER QUALITY ASSURANCE ACT OF 1996

                                _______
                                

               September 24, 1996.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


 Mr. Hyde, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2092]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 2092) to expedite State reviews of criminal records of 
applicants for private security officer employment, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     3
Hearings.........................................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Vote of the Committee............................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Findings............     5
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     5
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     5
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     5
Inflationary Impact Statement....................................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................     6
Agency Views.....................................................     7

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Private Security Officer Quality 
Assurance Act of 1996''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds that--
          (1) employment of private security officers in the United 
        States is growing rapidly;
          (2) the private security industry provides numerous 
        opportunities for entry-level job applicants, including 
        individuals suffering from unemployment due to economic 
        conditions or dislocations;
          (3) sworn law enforcement officers provide significant 
        services to the citizens of the United States in its public 
        areas, and are only supplemented by private security officers 
        who provide prevention and reporting services in support of, 
        but not in place of, regular sworn police;
          (4) given the growth of large private shopping malls, and the 
        consequent reduction in the number of public shopping streets, 
        the American public is more likely to have contact with private 
        security personnel in the course of a day than with sworn law 
        enforcement officers;
          (5) regardless of the differences in their duties, skill, and 
        responsibilities, the public has difficulty in discerning the 
        difference between sworn law enforcement officers and private 
        security personnel; and
          (6) the American public demands the employment of qualified, 
        well-trained private security personnel as an adjunct, but not 
        a replacement for sworn law enforcement officers.

SEC. 3. BACKGROUND CHECKS.

  (a) In General.--An association of employers of private security 
officers, designated for the purpose of this section by the Attorney 
General, may submit fingerprints or other methods of positive 
identification approved by the Attorney General, to the Attorney 
General on behalf of any applicant for a State license or certificate 
of registration as a private security officer or employer of private 
security officers. In response to such a submission, the Attorney 
General may, to the extent provided by State law conforming to the 
requirements of the second paragraph under the heading ``Federal Bureau 
of Investigation'' and the subheading ``Salaries and Expenses'' in 
title II of Public Law 92-544 (86 Stat. 1115), exchange, for licensing 
and employment purposes, identification and criminal history records 
with the State governmental agencies to which such applicant has 
applied.
  (b) Regulations.--The Attorney General may prescribe such regulations 
as may be necessary to carry out this section, including measures 
relating to the security, confidentiality, accuracy, use, and 
dissemination of information and audits and recordkeeping and the 
imposition of fees necessary for the recovery of costs.
  (c) Report.--The Attorney General shall report to the Senate and 
House Committees on the Judiciary 2 years after the date of enactment 
of this bill on the number of inquiries made by the association of 
employers under this section and their disposition.

SEC. 4. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

  It is the sense of Congress that States should participate in the 
background check system established under section 3.

SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

  As used in this Act--
          (1) the term ``employee'' includes an applicant for 
        employment;
          (2) the term ``employer'' means any person that--
                  (A) employs one or more private security officers; or
                  (B) provides, as an independent contractor, for 
                consideration, the services of one or more private 
                security officers (possibly including oneself);
          (3) the term ``private security officer''--
                  (A) means--
                          (i) an individual who performs security 
                        services, full or part time, for consideration 
                        as an independent contractor or an employee, 
                        whether armed or unarmed and in uniform or 
                        plain clothes whose primary duty is to perform 
                        security services, or
                          (ii) an individual who is an employee of an 
                        electronic security system company engaged in 
                        one or more of the following activities in the 
                        State: burglar alarm technician, fire alarm 
                        technician, closed circuit television 
                        technician, access control technician, or 
                        security system monitor; but
                  (B) does not include--
                          (i) sworn police officers who have law 
                        enforcement powers in the State,
                          (ii) attorneys, accountants, and other 
                        professionals who are otherwise licensed in the 
                        State,
                          (iii) employees whose duties are primarily 
                        internal audit or credit functions,
                          (iv) persons whose duties may incidentally 
                        include the reporting or apprehension of 
                        shoplifters or trespassers, or
                          (v) an individual on active duty in the 
                        military service;
          (4) the term ``registration permit'' means a license, permit, 
        certificate, registration card, or other formal written 
        permission from the State for the person to engage in providing 
        security services;
          (5) the term ``security services'' means the performance of 
        one or more of the following:
                  (A) the observation or reporting of intrusion, 
                larceny, vandalism, fire or trespass;
                  (B) the deterrence of theft or misappropriation of 
                any goods, money, or other item of value;
                  (C) the observation or reporting of any unlawful 
                activity;
                  (D) the protection of individuals or property, 
                including proprietary information, from harm or 
                misappropriation;
                  (E) the control of access to premises being 
                protected;
                  (F) the secure movement of prisoners;
                  (G) the maintenance of order and safety at athletic, 
                entertainment, or other public activities;
                  (H) the provision of canine services for protecting 
                premises or for the detection of any unlawful device or 
                substance; and
                  (I) the transportation of money or other valuables by 
                armored vehicle; and
          (6) the term ``State'' means any of the several States, the 
        District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the 
        United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of H.R. 2092, the ``Private Security Officer 
Quality Assurance Act of 1996,'' is to expedite State criminal 
background checks of applicants for the job of private security 
officer. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to designate 
an association of employers of private security officers to 
submit applicant fingerprints to the Attorney General for the 
purpose of fingerprint background checks to be conducted by the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    H.R. 2092 also requires the Attorney General to report to 
the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary two years 
after the date of enactment of the bill on the number and 
disposition of inquiries made by the association of employers. 
The bill further expresses the sense of Congress that States 
should enact laws that regulate the training and licensing of 
private security officers.

                BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

    Some private security guard companies, such as the 
Pinkerton Detective Agency, have existed in the United States 
since the Civil War era. Over the past fifty years, the private 
security industry has grown dramatically in size.1
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ William C. Cunningham et al., The Hallcrest Report II: Private 
Security Trends 1970-2000, 175 (1990).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1990, there were approximately 2.4 private security 
employees for every law enforcement employee. It is estimated 
that the ratio will continue to grow, and that by the year 2000 
private security officers will outnumber sworn law enforcement 
officers by nearly 3-1. In some cities, the ratio of private 
security to law enforcement will be as high as 4 or 5-1.2
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Id at 229.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Private security guards are now commonly sighted at 
shopping malls, parking lots and housing units. Private 
businesses are not the only organizations who have recognized 
the value of private security officers. At the 1996 Summer 
Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia, approximately 5,000 
private security officers were hired to supplement the Federal, 
State and local law enforcement personnel.3
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ John Manners, ``Worried But Unthwarted'', Time, June 3, 1996 at 
16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While many private security guards are extremely competent, 
at times even heroic, background checks for these guards remain 
spotty. Over two-thirds of the States and the District of 
Columbia currently require some type of background check on 
security guards, but many only require checks on criminal 
history records within their own States. Some States do call 
for a review of federal criminal records, but this review can 
take several months.
    Private security guards often carry guns or other weapons, 
and wear uniforms which resemble law enforcement uniforms. Many 
citizens put their trust in these guards. Unfortunately, there 
have been numerous instances of citizens who were harmed, 
including sexual assaults, by private security guards whose 
pre-employment background checks failed to unearth criminal 
convictions.4
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Del Jones and Ellen Neuborne, ``On Guard: Bad Guys Behind Badge 
of Honor'', U.S.A. Today, September 12, 1996, at B1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The ``Private Security Office Quality Assurance Act'' will 
allow for expedited fingerprint checks for private security 
officer applicants. This legislation is supported by the 
National Association of Security Companies and the 
International Association of Chiefs of Police.

                                HEARINGS

    The Committee's Subcommittee on Crime held one day of 
hearings H.R. 2092 on March 7, 1996. Testimony was received 
from Members of Congress, and one witness, Mr. Kevin DiGregory, 
Deputy Assistant Attorney General, representing the Department 
of Justice. Additional testimony was recieved from the National 
Association of Security Companies.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On March 21, 1996, the Subcommittee on Crime met in open 
session and ordered favorably reported the bill H.R. 2092 by a 
voice vote, a quorum being present. On September 18, 1996, the 
Full Committee met in open session and ordered reported 
favorably the bill H.R. 2092 with amendment, by a voice vote, a 
quorum being present.

                         VOTE OF THE COMMITTEE

    There were no recorded votes.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports 
that the findings and recommendations of the Committee, based 
on oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

         COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    No findings or recommendations of the Committee on 
Government Reform and Oversight were received as referred to in 
clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

               NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    Clause 2(l)(3)(B) of House Rule XI is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(C)(3) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets 
forth, with respect to the bill, H.R. 2092, the following 
estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 20, 1996.
Hon. Henry J. Hyde,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
reviewed H.R. 2092, the Private Security Officer Quality 
Assurance Act of 1995, as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on the Judiciary on September 18, 1996. CBO estimates 
that enacting H.R. 2092 would not result in any net impact on 
the federal budget. Because enactment of H.R. 2092 would affect 
offsetting collections and the spending of such collections, 
pay-as-you-go procedures would apply.
    H.R. 2092 would expedite state reviews of criminal records 
of applicants for private security employment by permitting the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct background 
checks on such applicants. The Attorney General would be 
responsible for ``imposing fees necessary for the recovery of 
costs'' associated with these background checks. Based on 
information from the FBI and the Department of Justice, CBO 
expects that the Attorney General would set fees at a level 
sufficient to recover all costs that the government would incur 
while conducting background checks. The fees collected would be 
counted as offsetting collections credited to appropriations, 
as are existing fees for other background checks. The FBI 
spends such fees in the same year in which they are collected. 
Thus, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2092 would not result in 
any net cost to the federal government. This bill also 
expresses the sense of the Congress that states should 
participate in the background check system that would be 
established under this bill.
    H.R. 2092 contains no private-sector or intergovernmental 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4) and would not impose costs on state, local, 
or tribal governments.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susanne S. 
Mehlman.
            Sincerely,
                                              James L. Blum
                                   (For June E. O'Neill, Director).

                     INFLATIONARY IMPACT STATEMENT

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that H.R. 
2092 will have no significant inflationary impact on prices and 
costs in the national economy.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1--Short title

    This section states that the short title of the bill is the 
``Private Security Officer Quality Assurance Act of 1996.''

Sec. 2--Findings

    This section lists several findings by Congress relating to 
the growth of the private security officer industry, the 
utility of that industry as a supplement to sworn law 
enforcement personnel, and the necessity for hiring only 
qualified, well-trained persons for the job of private security 
officer.

Sec. 3--Background checks

    This section will expedite criminal records checks for 
applicants for the job of private security officer. This 
section requires the Attorney General to designate an 
association of employers of private security officers to submit 
fingerprints to the Attorney General on behalf of an applicant 
for the job of private security officer. The Attorney General 
will direct the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct a 
background fingerprint investigation by matching the 
applicant's fingerprints with fingerprints on file with the 
FBI. This system is similar to the one now in use by the 
banking and parimutuel industries.
    The Attorney General is given authority to prescribe 
whatever regulations may be necessary to implement these 
fingerprint checks, including regulations relating to the 
imposition of fees necessary for the recovery of costs. It is 
the Committee's intent that federal funds not be expended for 
individual background fingerprint checks conducted under this 
section.
    The Attorney General is also directed to report to the 
House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary two years after 
the date of enactment of this act on the number and disposition 
of inquires made by the association of employers under this 
section. The Committee intends that this report will also 
describe the average length of time necessary for each 
background check processed under regulations prescribed 
pursuant to this act.

Sec. 4--Sense of Congress

    This section states that it is the Sense of Congress that 
the several States participate in the background check system 
established under this act.

Sec. 5--Definitions

    This section defines several terms listed in the 
legislation, including ``employer,'' ``employee,'' and 
``security services.''

                              agency views

                             Office of Legislative Affairs,
                                     Washington, DC, March 6, 1996.
Hon. Bill McCollum,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary, House of 
        Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: I am pleased to respond to your request 
for the Department of Justice's views on a number of bills the 
Subcommittee will soon consider. Our views are provided below.

     h.r. 2092--the private security officer quality assurance act

    We applaud the goal of this bill, enhancing the oversight 
and regulation of private security officers. However, we have 
several concerns about the background check provisions and the 
intended scope of the term ``private security officer.''
    Section 3 permits an association of employers of private 
security guards to conduct criminal history record checks 
directly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We believe 
this proposal is unnecessary. FBI criminal history record 
checks are currently conducted for prospective security guards, 
private patrolmen, and watchmen pursuant to Pub. L. 92-544 in 
the 34 states which have enacted appropriate enabling 
legislation.
    Any procedure that would bypass the initial fingerprint 
check through state criminal record systems is an inefficient 
use of the FBI and other law enforcement resources. The state 
authorities handling the applicant fingerprint card should 
forward to the FBI only those cards for which no disqualifying 
record or substantive information is identified at the state or 
local level. The identification of such information obviates 
the need for a national check, thus resulting in the savings of 
time and expense attributable to redundant FBI processing.
    It should be noted that an individual's criminal history 
record at the state level often contains arrests and 
dispositions that are never reported to the FBI. Further, some 
state laws prohibit the dissemination of certain 
nondisqualifying criminal history data--such as non-conviction 
data or arrest entries for which no disposition has been 
reported--to state and local agencies making licensing and 
employment decisions.
    Section 4 of the bill expresses a sense of the Congress 
that the states should enact statutes requiring employer 
licenses for security services, registration permits with 
background requirements, and detailed training prerequisites. 
Also advocated are provisions for recognition of out-of-state 
licenses, certain employee rights, and the state creation of 
advisory boards. We have several observations and suggestions 
related to this section and Section 5 (definitions).
    Throughout the proposal ``private security officers'' are 
dealt with as a relatively identifiable and fungible category 
of employees. However, variations in state laws, assigned 
duties, and employment status create a wide range of such 
employees, many of whom resemble office receptionists or mid-
level office managers while others are virtual police officers 
with limited jurisdiction.
    ``Private security officer'' has a much narrower meaning in 
the law enforcement community than is established by the 
proposed legislative definition. That proposed definition of a 
``private security officer'' would seemingly include many 
office receptionists, tavern ``bouncers,'' parking lot 
attendants, transit and airline gate personnel, ticket-takers 
at virtually any facility, non-police park rangers, pool life 
guards, theater ushers, and firm alarm technicians. The 
definition unintentionally may even reach certain members of 
the news media--who may perform the observation or reporting of 
unlawful activity, full or part time, for consideration as an 
independent contractor, or as an employee with a primary duty 
to perform those tasks. Even some Federal Government employees 
are seemingly within the scope of that definition, if they 
perform any of the security and safety functions identified and 
are not sworn police officers or active duty military 
personnel. We do not believe that the Federal Government should 
urge the states to regulate the training, qualifications, and 
other employment aspects of various categories of federal 
employees.
    While the findings initially suggest that the primary 
problem which the legislation seeks to address involves private 
shopping mall and other facility security officers and the 
inability of the public to distinguish such private officers 
from sworn public police officers, this proposal exceeds that 
scenario. Even in that narrow area, the states seem qualified 
to identify any problem and address it, as many jurisdictions 
already have by mandating large shoulder patches with 
distinctive markings or other uniform labeling which clarifies 
an employee's private sector status.
    We have concerns about the perceived need for homogeneous 
training. Job responsibilities, levels of oversight, exposure 
to the public, and state-granted powers vary to such a degree 
that, in our view, no specific minimal training requirements 
could meet the needs of some security officer assignments 
without substantially exceeding the level required for others.
    The level of specificity of proposed requirements may prove 
to be both insufficiently flexible and nevertheless 
inaccurately precise. For example, advocating that a 70% 
marksmanship score be adopted as a requirement by all states 
seems rather precise, yet, since no standard for the form of 
test which should yield that score is provided, the number is 
insignificant if testing and scoring procedures vary widely. 
Similarly, prohibiting the ``unreasonable limitation'' of the 
right of an involuntarily terminated employee to seek 
subsequent security officer employment may prove to be so vague 
that it does not afford additional protection if state labor 
laws are inadequate, yet it inadvertently could encourage the 
hiring of unqualified personnel already terminated for cause 
from a similar position.
    Again, we are pleased to assist the Subcommittee's 
consideration of these bills. Please do not hesitate to contact 
me if you need any additional assistance.
            Sincerely,
                                               Andrew Fois,
                                        Assistant Attorney General.